Zion XRoads Speedway, Hilltop Speedway & Central Va. Raceway Were All the Same Track on U.S. 250

Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
6 years ago
9,114 posts

Several years ago on another racing site I asked if anyone was familiar with Zion Crossroads Speedway in Virginia. I had heard Richmond drivers like Al Grinnan, Runt Harris, Eddie Crouse and Ted Hairfield talk about the dirt track which was between Richmond and Charlottesville off U.S. 250 and ran in the late 40s and into the 50s, maybe even 60s.

Wendell Scott had won races there.

One respondent posted that his father-in-law had raced there as well as several other Charlottesville, Virginia area tracks like Unionville and Ruckersville.

Our own Bobby Williamson also responded with a satellite shot of what remained of the 1/4-mile establishment. This is the photo Bobby posted on Local Race Chat:


Imagine my surprise a while ago when I was reading on a Virginia Historical Society website about a 1948 photo of an old drive in movie outside of Charlottesville named the Seven Pines.

Responding to that photo post was the son of the builder of the drive in movie, who also turned out to be the son of the builder of Zion Crossroads Speedway. Here is that photo and the post made by the respondent. Turns out the track was called by at least three different names.

"My father built this drive-in in the late forties when I was about 8 years old. We used to show movies and also had stage shows on occasion. I have numerous ads from the Charlottesville paper advertising the movies. Most of the time the entry price was $1.00 per car load. The largest crowd ever was probably about 200 cars for a country stage show. My father J.G. Pugh built the store, house and later the theater. He also built the Orange Drive-In with Jack Johnson, a neighbor. Jack Johnson operated the Orange Drive-In while my father operated Seven Pines. Soon after the demise of the theater (due in part I think to the opening of Ridge Drive-In in Charlottesville and the inability to get any late movies) my father built a stock car race track at Zion Crossroads. The raceway initially was known as Hilltop Speedway and later Central Virginia Raceway." -- Ken Pugh




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"

updated by @dave-fulton: 12/05/16 04:08:38PM
DIrtshooter
@dirtshooter
last year
16 posts

Here is Zion Crossroad Speedway 

Zion Crossroads Speedway.png




--
Like my Daddy always said, "If ya gonna be dumb, Ya gotta be TOUGH!"
Dennis  Garrett
@dennis-garrett
last year
550 posts

Zion Crossroads Dirt Track Racing website.

http://www.cvilleimages.com/2014/03/04/dirt-track-racing/

Dennis Garrett

Richmond,Va.

Dennis  Garrett
@dennis-garrett
last year
550 posts

[quote="DIrtshooter"]

Here is Zion Crossroad Speedway 

Zion Crossroads Speedway.png

[/quote]


Do you have the exact location of this track ?

Dennis Garrett

Richmond,Va.


updated by @dennis-garrett: 02/23/17 01:05:24PM
DIrtshooter
@dirtshooter
last year
16 posts

Google Earth coords  37°58'13.41"N    78°12'22.48"W

Between US 250 & I-64 at the end of Jackson Heights Rd.  0.7 miles due east of Zion Crossroads




--
Like my Daddy always said, "If ya gonna be dumb, Ya gotta be TOUGH!"
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
last year
9,114 posts

Dennis, those late 40s / early 50s mostly color photos you found from the collection of Ed Rosebury of stock car racing at Virginia's Zion Crossroads Speedway are just outstanding.  It would be cool if there was somebody out here who could identify the drivers.

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--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
last year
9,114 posts

The final of the seven late 40s/early 50s Edwin Rosenberry photos from Zion Crossroads Speedway between Richmond and Charlottesville, Virginia off Route U.S. 250 appears to be of a thrill show stunt.zion1.PNGzion2.PNGzion3.PNGzion4.PNGzion5.PNGzion6.PNGzion7.PNG

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--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
last year
9,114 posts

A 2015 article posted at the web site Great Black Heroes - http://www.greatblackheroes.com/sports/wendell-scott/ - mentions the Zion Crossroads Speedway promoter not wanting to pay Wendell Scott after a win until Buck Drummond and Earl Brooks confronted the promoter:

"Two drivers in particular supported Wendell Scott. Earl Brooks and Buck Drummond befriended Wendell and stood up for him when he faced unfair treatment. After a promoter refused to pay Scott after he won the feature race at the Zion Crossroads, Drummond confronted the promoter saying that he would “die for him right here.” The promoter gave in and paid Wendell and he never had a problem at the track again. On other occasions, the racial hostility caused Wendell to fight his way out of a crowd, but Brooks stood by his side, ready to fight for him."

This really good article tells of Chief Stewart Mike Poston in the early 50s granting Scott his first NASCAR license at the old Richmond Speedway just north of Richmond, Virginia on U.S. Highway 301. Poston didn't check with anyone in Daytona and NASCAR brass was furious since Scott had already been turned down for a NASCAR license at both Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC and at High Point (NC) Speedway. I guess the former Capital of the Confederacy wasn't as prejudiced against Scott as his North Carolina neighbors.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"

updated by @dave-fulton: 02/24/17 04:08:23PM
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
last year
9,114 posts

There is an extremely interesting article about Wendell Scott in EBONY Magazine all the way back in 1960:

https://books.google.com/books?id=QoVz2rpp-skC&pg=PA64&lpg=PA64&dq=mike+poston+nascar+official&source=bl&ots=pQpYDEZ5nr&sig=oWBMLX9q84SF18MCsDF_NyxADUM&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjincaI1qnSAhWG3oMKHR-DAFk4ChDoAQhBMAc#v=onepage&q=mike%20poston%20nascar%20official&f=false

The article has many photos including these 3 showing NASCAR official Mike Poston who issued Wendell his first NASCAR license at Richmond Speedway with Wendell and Wendell with his trophies for being 1959 Southside Speedway champ and State of Virginia NASCAR champ. Note Earl Brooks on Wendell's crew:

poston1.PNGposton2.PNGposton3.PNG




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
last year
9,114 posts

More little known photos of Wendell Scott and his #89 NASCAR modified at the brand new Daytona Speedway Modified race won by Banjo Matthews on February 21, 1959 from the article in Ebony Magazine. Scott started 38th of 55 cars and finished 50th:

scottdaytona1.PNGscottdaytona2.PNGscottdaytona3.PNGscottdaytona4.PNGscottdaytona5.PNGscottdaytona6.PNGscottdaytona7.PNGscottdaytona8.PNG




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"

updated by @dave-fulton: 02/24/17 09:09:55PM
Dennis  Garrett
@dennis-garrett
last year
550 posts

[quote="DIrtshooter"]

Google Earth coords  37°58'13.41"N    78°12'22.48"W

Between US 250 & I-64 at the end of Jackson Heights Rd.  0.7 miles due east of Zion Crossroads

[/quote]

Thanks for the information.

Dennis Garrett

Richmond,Va.

Dennis  Garrett
@dennis-garrett
last year
550 posts

[quote="Dave Fulton"]

Dennis, those late 40s / early 50s mostly color photos you found from the collection of Ed Rosebury of stock car racing at Virginia's Zion Crossroads Speedway are just outstanding.  It would be cool if there was somebody out here who could identify the drivers.

[/quote]

Dave or Chase,

How did you post your large photos to this forum?

Only photos that I can attach file is like my screenshot_2017-02-28-15-10.jpg .

Looks like the 1/4 right side of large photos are still not shown on the screen?

But if you open  or copy them, you will get to see them as whole photo shot.

I think Chase knows how to post the photos so they will look and act right.

Dennis Garrett

Richmond,Va.

Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
last year
9,114 posts

Dennis, to post full size photo, click on the next to last symbol at the top of the post box - the one that looks like a film strip next to the smiley face. This "embed local media" symbol will let you chose the size of your photo and browse your photo files to post. Chase, Devin or Jeff can most likely give you better instructions if this doesn't work for you.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
TGcville
@tgcville
3 months ago
3 posts

I found this thread by googling Hilltop Speedway. The gentleman in the 37-40 ford 5 window coupe was my grandfather, Clayton Scott Duncan, Jr. His father was co-owner of the Chevrolet dealership in palmyra for awhile, "Rivanna Motor Co." and his brother was the mechanic there. I have attached two more photos of him shot by Richmond based photographer Al Cothran, who has since passed. The color photo I have attached should be a bit higher resolution than from the cvilleimages site. If any one knows anyone who recalls attending any races there in the early 50's, I'd love to chat!

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updated by @tgcville: 02/05/18 02:17:03PM
Dennis  Garrett
@dennis-garrett
3 months ago
550 posts

Hilltop Speedway near Charlottesville,Va. / (aka Cavalier Speedway) dirt oval (c.8/17/1952 - c.1954) is listed in hardcover book: The History of America's Speedways  Past & Present by Allan Email.Brown.

Dennis Garrett

Richmond,VA. USA

Dennis  Garrett
@dennis-garrett
3 months ago
550 posts

Al Cothran: 1927-2010





Posted 



When Jean Cothran remembers her late husband, Al, one thing immediately comes to mind.

"He was so kind to people," she said. "He took care of everybody's house when they were gone, and if anything was wrong he would call them or fix it himself."

Al Cothran , 83, died Sunday, Dec. 12, at his home in Manning, leaving behind his wife of Manning and two sons, Richard and Dean, both of Richmond, Va.

His wife said she hopes people will remember his kindness more than anything else.

"He was just a good person," she said.

Born Aug. 15, 1927, in Richmond, Va., Cothran was a Navy veteran, serving from 1945 to 1946 as a ship's cook in a construction battalion in Guam during World War II. He organized South Carolina's first chapter of the Navy Seabee Veterans of America, a group that brings together veterans who served in the construction battalions. He was instrumental in getting the group a U.S. flag to fly atop the South Carolina Statehouse.

"He was so determined," said fellow Seabee and friend Aldo Del Rosario. "If it wasn't for him, I don't think we would have stayed together."

Del Rosario and Jean both said Cothran was an enthusiastic veteran who loved his country. In 2004, she said he went to Washington, D.C., with fellow South Carolina veterans in an "Honor Flight" to visit the National World War II Memorial when it opened that year.

"It was the highlight of his later life," she said. "He loved it and wanted to do it again."

In addition to being a devoted veteran, Cothran was an avid and decorated photographer and camera collector. He started by shooting photos at stock car races while he lived in Richmond. He photographed more than 600 weddings, shot for newspapers and was known for his skill as a forensic photographer. He eventually was named the president of the Virginia Professional Photographer's Association in 1969. He retired from the business, selling off two studios, but still maintained an interest in photography. He and Larry Hewitt, a photographer at Silver Images Studios in Manning, worked together over the years. Hewitt said Cothran taught him a great deal about the business side of photography.

"He taught me how to get paid for the pictures I take," he said. "He was a good friend I could always call up whenever I had a question."ok

Del Rosario also said he will remember Cothran as a friend, noting their nine-year friendship.

"He was always doing something good," he said. "Knowing him was one of the greatest pleasures of my life."

- R. Darren Price

=========================================================================

In addition to being a devoted veteran, Cothran was an avid and decorated photographer and camera collector. He started by shooting photos at stock car races while he lived in Richmond. He photographed more than 600 weddings, shot for newspapers and was known for his skill as a forensic photographer. He eventually was named the president of the Virginia Professional Photographer's Association in 1969. He retired from the business, selling off two studios, but still maintained an interest in photography. He and Larry Hewitt, a photographer at Silver Images Studios in Manning, worked together over the years. Hewitt said Cothran taught him a great deal about the business side of photography.

"He taught me how to get paid for the pictures I take," he said. "He was a good friend I could always call up whenever I had a question."ok

Wonder who has Al Cothran's stock car racestoppers photos? Family? Larry Hewitt?

Dennis Garrett

Richmond,VA. USA

TGcville
@tgcville
3 months ago
3 posts

I also came across that obituary, I reached out to Mr. Hewitt last week via email. He still runs a studio in S.C. but never ventured up to VA, or took any photos of the races himself. He recalled all of Mr. Cothran's equipment and archives went to his son, which he was unaware of his location or name. After a bit of research it appears Mr. Cothran had two sons, and one or two daughters. I was able to locate a mailing address for the eldest son, and I put a letter out to him this past Saturday (2/4/18). He is approx 60 years of age, and living in Quinton, VA. My hope is he still has all the negatives, or knows where they may be. I'll certainly update this post when I come across new info.

Also, if you look at current day satellite imagery, one of the banks has been excavated for either logging access, or home site pad prep. Using historical imagery puts the trailer on the track sometime in 2012. Per the Louisa Co tax map, the 10.48 parcel is owned by a Womack of North Brunswick, NJ.

I am told this track operated well into the 60's if not longer. It was paved at some point, which may or may not have ultimately put them under. At the same time, the track itself would never have preserved as it has if it were never paved. 

Thanks for the info, I'll have to pick up a copy of that book!

Dennis  Garrett
@dennis-garrett
3 months ago
550 posts

http://www.dailyprogress.com/lifestyles/johnson-owned-speedway/article_a9ae3f46-9f7c-5c84-b55b-3c0855101511.html

Johnson 'owned' speedway







 Dec 9, 2007

In a brief span of three years the Cavalier Speedway blossomed, flourished, faded and passed into history.


The late businessman George Durham opened Albemarle County's first stock car racetrack on April 23, 1954. He owned the track, but many of the fans who watched the races on Friday nights probably felt that distinction belonged to a driver named Thomas Calvin "Cal" Johnson.



"Cal Johnson owned that track," said Charlottesville resident Donald C. Cassity, who has fond memories of Cavalier Speedway and Johnson's domination of it. "He was the best driver I ever saw drive there.




"He was practically unbeatable. Nobody could touch him."



Johnson passed away on Nov. 27 at the age of 86. He is buried at Woodland Cemetery in Ashland.



Curtis "Pete" Seiler raced against Johnson at the local quarter-mile track, which was located at the end of Franklin Street near the Albemarle Livestock Market. He was in the National Guard at the time and was driving a car some of his Army buddies had built.



Mid-pack boys



The lifelong Charlottesville resident said he knew he didn't stand a chance against a driver of Johnson's caliber. He could race with the mid-pack boys, but his equipment wouldn't allow him to do much better than that.



"I was running a '36 Ford that was inferior to the cars people like Cal Johnson were running," Seiler said of his stock car, which sported the number 7-11. "Guys like me were novices, just running for the fun of it.



"The engines were supposed to be stock, but you know how people have the tendency to add a little something here and there to make them go a little faster. When I was racing, Cal was running a '34 Ford with the number 34.



"His motor was probably built up and, on top of that, he was one heck of a driver. He would be more or less toying with the rest of us until it got down to the last part of the race. Then he would blow by everybody down there."



In the Hogwallow



Johnson wasn't without competition at the speedway, which was located in the area once called the "Bottom" or "Hogwallow." During the track's brief existence, talented drivers such as Wendell Scott, who went on to drive in NASCAR races, competed there.



Another regular and local favorite was Reasel James "Gip" Gibson of Keswick. He was killed on July 14, 1974, in a three-car wreck at the Virginia Raceway in Saluda. Like Johnson, the Korean War veteran was popular with drivers and fans alike.



"Gip Gibson was a heck of a driver and so was a guy from up around Orange named Bob Darling, who drove the double-zero car,"



Seiler said. "They had quite a few good drivers down there.



"Cal was a little slight fellow, not very big. He would be smoking a pipe the whole time he was driving. I never got to talk to him too much, but he was a friendly, outgoing guy.



"He would talk to you and offer you a few tips, if he could. It's been a long time since then, so I can't remember any advice I got from him. Probably something to do with keeping the car on its four wheels. He was a good fellow."



Admission to the Cavalier Speedway was $1.25. Children younger than 12 and accompanied by their parents were admitted free. You couldn't buy a beer at the track, but you could purchase popcorn and hot dogs as well as soft drinks.



Seiler remembers the atmosphere at the track on race nights as being "kind of hyper." He was only 18, so he had to battle his nerves as well as his fellow drivers.



"Right before a race would start, I'd get a little queasy and uneasy in the stomach," Seiler said. "But being young and stupid, you didn't much care about that.



"Just getting ready to go was the main thing. It was just a quarter-mile track, so you were turning most of the way. The middle of the turns had a little banking, but the straight-aways were flat.



"People like Cal were getting up to speeds around 55 or 60 miles an hour. Guys like me never got going that fast."



That was a good thing, considering the lack of safety equipment in those days. Seiler's Ford was outfitted with roll bars and a set of shoulder harnesses, but that was pretty much the extent of it.

"I wore a football helmet, but we didn't have any sophisticated fire walls or anything like that," Seiler said. "One night I got run into the fence in front of the grandstand.


"The fence there was made of railroad ties, and I hit it hard enough to push the motor up under the transmission. It didn't hurt me, but after the race that night I was leaving for Indian Gap, Pennsylvania, for a summer encampment.



"I hated to tell the fellows who had already gone to Indian Gap that I had tore the car all to pieces."



While a lot of the fans looked up to drivers like Johnson, Seiler said he didn't expect, nor get, any accolades from strangers or friends.



"Of course, I'm from Belmont, and the people from over there don't put too much praise on anybody," Seiler said with a touch of humor in his voice. "So I didn't pay attention to anything like that."



Seiler said he would have liked to continue racing, but he didn't have the money to do so. Johnson continued to race and in 1972 won the track championship at what is now Virginia Motor Speedway in Jamaica.



According to Joe Kelly, an authority on Virginia stock car racing and a former driver, Johnson won 106 modified races during his career. Johnson also excelled at go-kart racing and, during the 1960s, won three world championships in the sport.



Durham shut down the Cavalier Speedway in 1956 after holding a winner-take-all race with a purse of $500. During an interview in the summer of 2000, he summed up his feelings about the old racetrack.



"The Cavalier Speedway never made me any money, but I don't regret a minute of it," Durham said. "The fans and drivers were wonderful and provided me with some great memories."



Seiler drove away from the track with some great memories as well. Some of them have to do with one heck of a driver named Cal Johnson.



"I never won a race, but I had a lot of fun trying," Seiler said. "As long as we could keep it on the track, we were doing all right. I'm sure I wasn't much competition for guys like Cal, but I can say I was on the track."



TGcville
@tgcville
3 months ago
3 posts

Looks like Cavalier Speedway was a different track located in Charlottesville 

Dennis  Garrett
@dennis-garrett
3 months ago
550 posts

http://www.readthehook.com/81493/cover-wheres-pork-rise-and-fall-hogwaller-name


COVER- Where's the pork? The rise and fall of the Hogwaller name






COVER- Where's the pork? The rise and fall of the Hogwaller name








 


PHOTO BY WILLIAM WALKER

"Fifty-five dollars, 55, 55," the auctioneer barks, "54, 53, 52, 51– do I have 50?"

Pipe smoke occasionally drifts through the thick air, momentarily disguising the unmistakable odor of livestock. From the faded blue wooden bleachers and the sea of mostly middle-aged men, a single tan hand rises.

"51, 51, 52, 53"– the bidding slowly rises on a calf in a dusty pit, and the regular cadence of quick numbers is broken only by the occasional mooing of other cows waiting their turn. When bidding stalls at $64, the auctioneer's voice falls slient, and the calf heads to its destiny through a large door at the back.

This is how the Charlottesville Livestock Market has operated for more than 60 years, and this is the heart of Hogwaller.

Hogwaller: a remnant of Charlottesville history with a cloudy future.

In the face of the City's effort to distance itself from the name, only echoes remain. There's a band called the Hogwaller Ramblers, there's a home-grown beer called Hogwaller Kolsch, and there's a diner on West Main Street whose menu offers Hogwaller Hash.

It's a name that doesn't appear on any map, and it's one that some city officials wish would go away. And while for people who grew up there, Hogwaller has a special meaning, not all those memories are warm.

 

Sticks and stones

"I grew up there," said Gene Cassidy, who was raised at 811 Rives Street. "We had a nice, clean, neat home that we were proud of." But Cassidy, who died a year ago at the age of 74, felt the sting of snobbery on his daily walk to school. Along the way, he said, he and other students would hear jeers: "Here come the kids from Hogwaller!"

"It made you feel very small," Cassidy said. "It made you feel very self-conscious."

Cassidy explained that while white city kids could walk to the various downtown schools, his family– due to mid-century annexations in 1938 and 1963– had to travel two miles each way to Lane High School, today the County Office Building on McIntire Road. Hogwaller, he noted, "didn't even have sidewalks."

But pride and infrastructure aside, Cassidy said that one thing was sure: "The name really attracts attention."

Overton McGehee, the local director of Habitat for Humanity, has experienced first hand the kind of reaction the Hogwaller name can provoke. When Habitat bought Sunrise Trailer Court in the heart of Hogwaller several years ago, McGehee says, he was warned by people at City Hall to avoid the H-word.

"City officials told me not to use the name," he says. "They said, 'That's north Belmont.'" (It's actually located southeast of much of Belmont.)

City spokesman Ric Barrick says he can easily explain the warning: "It's more of a derogatory name that we would not endorse because it's classist," he says. "'Belmont' is the current terminology."

As far as history is concerned, Barrick says Hogwaller was never an official name: "It was a name that was used both positively and negatively by people, depending on what side of the tracks they were on. But it was never officially sanctioned."

 

Memories of a community

On the front porch of a house with white siding and brown trim, a man with a deeply lined face sits watching a cement truck rumble by. His rolled up jeans clash only slightly with an earring sparkling in his left ear.

"When I was growing up, you didn't see many cars," says Andy Lawson. "If you saw two cars all day long, you were a lucky damn man."

Lawson has lived his whole life between the sleepy streets of Rives and Nassau, in what he refers to as "the bottom," the lowest terrain of Hogwaller that backs up to the flood plain of nearby Moore's Creek. Born in 1939, Lawson is a member of an authentic Belmont industry bloodline: his grandmother worked at the nearby Woolen Mills, both his parents worked for the Frank Ix textile company on Elliott Avenue, and Lawson himself worked at Barnes Lumber adjacent to the Belmont Bridge.

One of seven children, Lawson grew up when Hogwaller was more country than city: he remembers when Franklin Street was nothing but gravel and tar, when the site of Rives Park was half cornfield/half cow pasture, and when the city limits had yet to totally cross the quiet neighborhood.

"It's hard to keep up with people nowadays," the retired construction worker says. "You don't know your neighbors anymore."

And he finds himself faced with other modern problems; his family says street racing occurs regularly on their block, and they suspect drugs and violence are present in their once-placid community.

Lawson bought his current house at 914 Nassau Street just across from what is now Rives Park for $4,000 in 1969. Today the ritzy Linden Town Lofts condominiums– starting price $249,000– are just a stone's throw away, and his parcel now has an assessed value of $120,000.

"This little house has withstood a lot," Lawson smiles. He has raised four kids, two sisters, and a grandchild there.

Over the years there's been lots of positive change, but Lawson says destruction has also taken its toll. Though he says he's pleased with improvements in infrastructure and new opportunities for kids in the neighborhood, he's outraged over the recent removal of the Woolen Mills dam. "It should have been history," he says, his voice rising in anger. "It ain't no different than Jefferson's place."

And though he's proud of where he's from, Lawson sees more value in people than in places. "It don't make no difference where you live," he says. "It matters what you want to be. Life is what you make it."

 

Keeping the 'hog' in 'Hogwaller'

It's the first Saturday afternoon in September, time for the weekly auction at the Charlottesville Livestock Market. Old advertisements for farm equipment and Chevy trucks cover one wall of the dilapidated, but still very much operational, arena.

In the dusty pen below the bleachers, a man in a pristine white cowboy hat, sporting a mustache, a massive belt buckle, and mud-encrusted work boots, leans on a long green stick, occasionally wielding it to prod a white calf with black ears, nose, and feet.

"324-pound bull calf," the auctioneer calls out.

On a walled platform just above stand two men, one with a microphone and one with pen and paper. A small wreath of flowers hangs just above a sign, "Auctioneering by Dick Whorley."

The Charlottesville Livestock Market sits at the bottom of the steep hill cradling the neighborhood between I-64 and Belmont, overlooked by a sea of single-story concrete bungalows from the 1940s and '50s, many with verdant views of Monticello Mountain. Closely packed trailers line a lot across the street.

The livestock market got its start on Garrett Street in the 1800s before moving just southeast of Douglas Avenue, along the bustling C&O rail yard the City converted to an office park in the late 1980s. It moved to its current site at 801 Franklin Street in 1946.

Owned by John H. Falls since 1980, the Charlottesville Livestock Market still holds auctions every Saturday, and at least once every five years or so, an animal escapes. But cows and pigs aren't the only things that have played in the Hogwaller mud.

A vacant field between the Livestock Market and the creek was home for a while to Charlottesville's first and last stock-car track, owned and operated by George Durham. Cavalier Speedway was a quarter-mile dirt oval track that seated about 3,500. It opened on an overcast April evening in 1954, when Orange County's Bob Dobbins won the 25-lap race, cheered on by a full house.

One of many tracks appearing across the South at the time, the venue also featured wrestling matches, turkey shoots, and daredevils. But the Speedway's glory was short-lived, and it closed after just two years. Today, the site remains an empty field.


Orange County's Bob Dobbins won the opening race at the Cavalier Speedway on Friday, April 23, 1954, and made the front page of the Progress the next day.
ARCHIVE IMAGE



Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
3 months ago
9,114 posts

AL Cothran had many wonderful photos taken in the 50s-60s at the Richmond Fairgrounds dirt track. One of out PR secretaries at Richmond International Raceway  (JoAnne) was good friends and one day in the earl;ym 90s he brought in tons of just amazing photos. It would be wonderful if they could be published, whoever has them.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dennis  Garrett
@dennis-garrett
3 months ago
550 posts


Orange County's Bob Dobbins won the opening race at the Cavalier Speedway on Friday, April 23, 1954, and made the front page of the Progress the next day.
ARCHIVE IMAGE

Above photo caption: Progress dated Saturday Afternoon, April 24, 1954 : Bob Dobbins of Orange, drives his 00 car around the track at the Cavalier Speedway after winning the 25-lap feature race at the track's grand opening last night.   Dobbins, who fought off the determined challenge of Richmond's Cal Johnson, carries the checkered flag, symbolize of victory.     Daily Progress staff photo.

Dennis  Garrett
@dennis-garrett
3 months ago
550 posts

Cavalier Speedway Google Earth photo:

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DIrtshooter
@dirtshooter
3 months ago
16 posts

Here is Cavalier on Dec. 14, 1959

Cavalier Speedway 121459.png




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Like my Daddy always said, "If ya gonna be dumb, Ya gotta be TOUGH!"
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
2 months ago
9,114 posts

Hey, Dennis... seeing the photo and name of Bob Dobyns (they spelled it wrong) in a 1954 edition of the Charlottesville Daily Progress for winning at Cavalier Speedway brought back a lot of memories. Around 1968-1969, when promoter Emanuel Zervakis brought the NASCAR Late Model Sportsman division to Richmond's Southside Speedway, it was Bob Dobyns who showed my buddy Frank Buhrman and me the quickest route from our west end Richmond homes to Southside Speedway. Following the rig towing the aging Dobyns' extremely ugly racecar, we crossed Hugenot Bridge, then turned right on U.S. 60 before turning left at the school in Midlothian as we learned a new shortcut to Southside for which we were always in Mr. Dobyns' debt. Here's the Dobyns Late Model Sportsman at Beltsville Speedway a year or two before our encounter.

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"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"

updated by @dave-fulton: 02/11/18 01:13:54PM
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
2 months ago
9,114 posts

That Winged $ car in the background of the Bob Dobyns photo belonged to the legendary Bobby Glass who passed in 2016 at age 82. Glass was a terror at Beltsville and Old Dominion Speedways.

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--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"

updated by @dave-fulton: 02/10/18 10:10:22PM