SC Rewind: The World Of Postcards

SC Rewind: The World of Postcards
Published: May 18, 2024 12:48 pm EDT

In this week's edition of Rewind Robert Smith takes a slightly different path as he recalls the once popular practice of sending and receiving postcards in the mail.  His piece includes quite an array of "oldies" based on harness racing scenes and memories.  He also talks about a bit of the history behind postcards. 

At one time the sending of postcards was a very popular happening.  Postcards could contain pictures of just about anything you could think of.  A short list of favourite subjects would probably include palm trees, mountain tops, African safaris, ski slopes, world events and, yes, even harness racing.  I can recall a time when people went on vacation, especially to a warm climate in the winter months,  they would send a postcard back to fellow workers just to brag a bit about what a great time they were having.  Invariably because of the slow mail delivery it often did not arrive until you were back on the job. 

I have a special memory of a postcard I received as a very young lad.  A man that I knew very well and actually worked for in later years (he was known as "Uncle Joe" even though he was not related) took a trip to Salt Lake City, Utah.  He sent a postcard to me and believe it or not it contained a tiny cloth bag attached that read "a bag of salt from Salt Lake City." Imagine nowadays something like that would probably shut down the entire postal system! 

Although the popularity of postcards ended many years ago, the practice of collecting them has been a pastime that even has its own name which is referred to as deltiology, the official name for postcard collecting.  It is thought to be one of the three largest collectable hobbies in the world,  along with coin and stamp collecting. 

Shown below are a number of postcards depicting harness racing scenes and themes.  These were chosen at random in an effort to show a wide cross section of just how many of these old gems once existed. A brief description will accompany each one. 

Charlottetown Driving Park postcard

What better picture than the iconic judge's stand and grandstand at the Charlottetown Driving Park.

Charlottetown Driving Park postcard reverse

Reverse side "Regards George." Messages sent on postcards were often brief. 


Blue Bonnets postcard

This one is an early years shot taken at Montreal's Blue Bonnets track.  Most people might remember it with  a bit of a different look. 

Greyhound postcard

None other than the often photographed Greyhound depicting his world record at the Red Mile in Lexington. 

Bye Bye Bird postcard

A somewhat modern age postcard showing the famous Bye Bye Byrd with Clint Hodgins in the sulky.  

Cairo, N.Y. postcard

 Postcard showing  Harness Racing at Cairo, N.Y. in the Catskill Mountains. Postmarked 3-Jun-48.

Dan Patch postcard

Front: (Dan Patch 1896 - 1916 One of the most famous Pacers of all time. Fouled in Oxford, Indiana in 1896. Set the world mile pacing record of 1:55 in 1906.) Back: (Dan Patch was owned by Dan Messnar of Oxford, Indiana until 1901 when he was sold to M.W. Savage of Savage, Minnesota. The great horse is honored annually by the Oxford Lions Club's "Dan Patch Day" held on the first Saturday after Labor Day).  Note - I believe the creator of this postcard may have erred slightly by using the word "fouled" when they likely meant "foaled". 

Windsor postcard

This postcard is a real oldie" depicting a scene at the Windsor Driving Park in Windsor, Ont.  This once popular track was located at the current site of Jackson Park which was once known as Windsor Fairgrounds.  Located very near the downtown area it still has the track gates that welcomed racing fans back around 1900. 

Pompano Park postcard

This postcard is one you might send to someone back up north when Pompano was usually racing during the winter months. 

Lexington postcard

Here is one complete with the address shown on the front.  Most often postcards had a split back with half reserved for the address and the other half for the sender's message. 

Roosevelt postcard

Harness Racing Postcard. View of Paddock at Roosevelt Raceway, N.Y. Westbury, Long Island, N.Y. -- from a painting by Richard Stone Reeves. On back reads: Roosevelt Raceway. Night trotting races are held at Roosevelt Raceway, America's leading trotting track, every weekday night, starting at 8:40, throughout the summer and fall. It is located in Westbury, L.I. and is easily accessible by Long Island Railroad or automobile.

Quote For The Week: "Figures can lie and liars can figure." 

Who Is It?  

Who Is It photo question

This old photo was taken a very long time ago at a horsemen's gathering at Buffalo Raceway.  The question is,  who is the rather young lad at the very front of the group with a nice smile?  (Harness Horse Photo) 

Who Else Is It?  

Who Else Is It photo question

Can you name these two fellows in a photo taken at Saratoga in front of a horse statue?  



This week's pictures were "no contest" for our experts.
The first photo was a young Johnny Chapman in a photo taken very early in his driving career at Buffalo Raceway. At the age of about 19 Johnny won his first big race when he piloted The Count B to victory in the 1948 Canadian Pacing Derby at New Hamburg, On.
In the lower photo was a pair of big name horsemen Delvin Miller (of Adios fame ) and Billy Haughton.
Glad the postcard subject was enjoyed by some in the audience. I learned that at least one reader is an avid collector of harness racing postcards.
Thanks to Mr. Self - I have often included Morrow Park references especially when it was used as a military base during WWII
Thanks Folks!

Who is it is John Chapman who else is it is Del Miller and Billy Haughton with the Statue Of Adios in the background.

Johnny Chapman. who else. Del Miller and Billy Haughton. Nice to see the old post cards. Bert Clish

Where do you get all these great things…look forward every week to your stories…you are the best….grew up in peterboro. Do you have any old morrow park stuff ?

Johnny Chapman Who else is it Del Miller & Billy Haughton

John Chapman
Del Miller, Bill Haughton

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