It's hard to imagine racing in Spring City on a big time scale but to a degree that is what we had over 100 years ago. Racing was common back then, with several local tracks being used. One in particular featured a full slate of races every Saturday and drew large crowds from several nearby states. This was horse racing utilizing a sulky and is more commonly referred to as harness racing. Many local farmers and businessmen owned and raced their horses at the track.
The track I am talking about was the Spring City Driving Association's Spring City track on Wall Street. As early as February of 1892 there were numerous newspaper stories speculating about the possibility of a public driving park for Spring City. It became a reality when in September of 1892 a large plot of ground known as Schuylkill Heights was purchased from Samuel H. Egolf. That property bordered Wall Street and was located where the present day Spring City Elementary School sits. H. G. Ellis surveyed the plot and laid out the plans for a third of a mile horse racing course. There would be room in the center for a ball field and the track would also be available for bicycle races. The association also announced at this time that there would be no gambling allowed and no races scheduled on Sundays.
With the full support of local race fans the flat dirt oval track was completed just one month later in October. It wasn’t until the following summer of 1893 that the work on the poles and wire, the judge’s stand, and the grandstand were begun. In an overview map of Spring City that dates back to 1893, the race track can clearly be seen but no adjoining structures were shown.
It could be said that harness racing was one of the summer’s main attractions in the early 1900s in Spring City. Some of the early members of the Spring City Driver’s Association were Dr. Mewhinney, Edward Custer, J. F. Smale and Milton Latshaw. Milton Latshaw became treasurer of the association in 1896.
The track continued to grow and prosper and annual banquets were held celebrating many of the individual achievements. In 1930 those attending were entertained by a ten piece orchestra. That year the attendance was in excess of 250 and marked the peak of their success.
For a short period of time in the thirties they tried automobile racing at the track. The track being flat didn’t really make an ideal place to race cars. Throw in the excessive dirt and loud noise from the stock cars and one can see why the venture was short-lived. Horse racing was always a part of the slate of activities but horse shows were also scheduled. World War II saw a decline in races scheduled but also marked the beginning of the The Memorial Horse Show. This annual event started in 1943 and attracted large crowds of people through the 1950s.
By the mid fifties the track was used mainly for practice and most of the horses stabled there were racing in New Jersey and some at the Reading Fairgrounds.
In the late fifties there was some bitterness among the local race fans when the school board was looking for property to build the new Elementary School in Spring City and chose the Wall Street location. They acquired the property in 1958 and the new school opened in 1960. The race era had ended.