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|No. 723: Franklin Field Speedway|
Franklin Field Speedway -- The Start. Photograph printed in The Driving Clubs of Greater Boston. Boston, 1914.
| Franklin Field at the intersection of Blue Hill Avenue and Talbot Avenue once was home to a racing oval.
Excerpt from the Franklin Field North description in an Area Form prepared for the Boston Landmarks Commission in 1995:
Franklin Field is described in Dorchester Old and New as "probably America's oldest playground, for it contains 77 acres available for baseball and other sports." By 1911, one of these "other sports" was weekly horse racing conducted by the Dorchester Gentlemen's Driving Club. Chartered in 1890 but not officially organized until 1899, the club was composed of Dorchester men "who enjoyed racing their horses in a competitive manner for awards and recognition". Originally, the weekly races were held on Blue Hill Avenue between Talbot and Callender Streets but as Blue Hill Avenue became more of a major traffic artery, the club petitioned the city of Boston to allow them to grade a portion of Franklin Field for a speedway and grandstand. In 1912, President John F. Kennedy's grandfather, Mayor John "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald won the silver cup at the one-seated carriage races on Dorchester Day. The Dorchester Gentlemen's Driving Club continued to race at Franklin Field until the rise of the automobile by 1920. Undoubtedly the proximity of these parks and the activities of the Dorchester Gentlemen's Club figured in the building boom which took place along the streets north of Franklin Field around 1900.
|Map: Scan of detail from 1918 Bromley atlas plate 23.|
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Created: January 1, 2004 Modified: February 2, 2011