WATKINS GLEN N.Y. (WETM) — Outside the Schuyler County courthouse, historians Bill Green and Jim Scaptura gave a lecture on Watkins Glen 75 years of racing history. A milestone sponsored by the Schuyler County Historical Society in collaboration with the International Racing Research Center.
The first road race took place on Oct. 2, 1948 on Franklin Street in a 6.6 mile course. It was that same day when then Watkins Glen Mayor, Allen D. Erway, commissioned New York Central Railroads trainmaster, Frank Chase, to stop the trains from running on the north and south bound. Allowing the race to happen and making it the first road race to take place after World War II.
“Quite a feat, you know. Because its been a long time and if you went and talked at a public speaking thing, you’d have to really talk fast to say 75 years and you know all of what happened and then what are the different things that happened at different times of the races either in town or up on the Hill,” said Green.
Along the sidewalks near the courthouse are the names of some of the drivers who competed on the road course from 1948 to 1952. A reminder to the town’s love of racing that is embedded within its streets.
Scaptura said, “The purpose is to introduce people who come to our village, introduce them with Watkins Glen’s rich history. We’ve had for the last years.”
Tomorrow the International Racing Research Center will be celebrating its 25th anniversary from 2 to 5 pm.