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Report: Uncovering Horse Racing History in Terryville

The Port Times Record reports on Cumsewogue Historical Society's preservation efforts of Victorian Era Park in Terryville.

There's an aerial photo taken in 1957 snapped by an unknown person that shows the area centered around Routes 112 and 347. In the image, a traffic circle that once was at the intersection in Port Jefferson Station is clearly visible. To the right of the circle is a horseracing track used in the late 1800s once known as the Gentlemen’s Driving Park.

"The oval outline of a former harness racing track is shown east of Canal Road," reads the description of the photo on the Port Jefferson historical archive. "During the late 19th century, this site was known as the Gentlemen’s Driving Park."

An image of a ticket to the Gentlemen’s Driving Park in the historical archives of Port Jefferson dated July 4, 1892 can be found here.

Since he rediscovered the track by using Google Earth images and the existing photo, Cumsewogue Historical Society President Jack Smith has been working with Brookhaven Town Councilman Steve Fiore-Rosenfeld to preserve the historic park, one of the last of its kind known to exist, according to a story this week in the Port Times Record.

"It's been some 130 years, but the half-mile loop the horses raced is still visible, though it's coated in layers of leaves," the paper reports. "The path in the woods is all that remains of the Gentlemen's Driving Park in Terryville, where local bettors once gathered to watch men race in carts called sulkies behind horses, or compete on bicycles or even on foot."

About half of the track has been preserved by the Town and its looking to acquire the rest of the land.

Click here to read the entire story on The Port Times Record website.

george moraitis January 05, 2013 at 12:38 PM
I knew the track was there since in the early 60s.... i used to ride my bike around it..then later, i drove a friend's car around the track which was used for racing at the time....I used to go in circles around the 'Traffic Circle' at 347 & 112 when 347, 112, Canal, Lampost & Popular St. fed in to it.....I think it was gone by 1967 or so.... {The bigger Boys would race from 'Otto's Bakery' in Mt. Sinai down around the 'Circle' and back...the 'start'& finish' was at Otto's...Haaaa, The 'Good Old Days'.
Jo-Ann DiRosa January 08, 2013 at 01:20 PM
how do you get to this race track? I love history and horse and would love to physically see this.

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