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[personal profile] deguspice
Hidden behind WBZ's headquarters in Allston is a small alley called "Speedway Ave". Many years ago, I heard a story that it got its name because of ostrich racing. It turns out the rumor was half right. Where Soldiers Field Road is now, there used to be a race track for horses and bicycles called the Charles River Speedway

In the 1800s there used to be horse racing along what is now called Commonwealth Ave, but eventually there was too much traffic, so Frederick Law Olmsted's company was hired to design a race track for horses (and sulkies) and bicycles along the river in Allston. It ran from where the Arsenal St bridge is now (where Western Ave ends) to where the the Eliot bridge now is.

I would not be surprised if there actually were the occasional ostrich race back then. But it looks like it was mostly used for horses.

Date: 2014-08-04 11:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
As a train geek, I had always wondered why the railroad yard in Allston/Brighton was called "Beacon Park".

Date: 2014-08-05 05:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It describes the location of Beacon Park as where the Double Tree hotel is now located. For me, that's still the location of the old Coca Cola bottling plant. On its roof was a giant "Coca Cola" sign made up of "moving" lights. It used to be an important part of the Boston skyline. When they tore down the bottling plant, the sign was preserved with the hope finding a new site for it, but after a few years it disappeared.

Here's a picture of the old sign:

Edited Date: 2014-08-05 05:06 am (UTC)

Date: 2014-08-05 12:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Actually, it says "Today's Doubletree Hotel would be at the top right." which leads me to believe that the CSX Frieght Yard also was within or mostly within the area of the what was once the Beacon Park Trotting Park.

Date: 2014-08-05 04:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
My mother has ridden an ostrich, but I doubt she was in a race on it.

Date: 2014-08-05 01:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
In a related vein, if anyone has better Google-foo than me, a couple of weeks ago I was trying to research when Birmingham Parkway was built. (Birmingham Parking is the road behind Staples and the IHOP which was the original extension of Soldiers Field Road from Western Ave to Nonantum Road.) Also, when was the Soldiers Field Road Extension built. (The road in front on the river side of the Staples and IHOP was built on what was a slaughterhouse.) I'm pretty sure Soldiers Field Road Extension was built sometime in the late 1950s or 1960s as I can find pictures of the slaughterhouse buildings being torn down in the late 1950s, but I can find no reference to when Birmingham Parkway was built.

Date: 2014-08-05 02:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I didn't know the road was called the "Birmingham Parkway" until Sunday (Siggy's GPS decided that was the best route from Soldier's Field to your house). I thought Market St ran all the way to Soldier's Field.

I'd try searching historic maps of the area to see when the road appears. A library or a map seller might have them.
Edited Date: 2014-08-05 02:57 pm (UTC)

Date: 2014-08-07 03:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Had you noticed H. 4359, “An Act to Preserve the Historic Speedway Administration Building in the Brighton Section of the City of Boston” (


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