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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a bit off topic, but actually the first commercial raceway in the United States was a rail car track located in a store front in Kalamazoo, Michigan in the late 1950's. The owner was a man named Asa Currier, who imported 1/32 MRRC rail cars from the UK and rented out the cars and track time. The track may have been constructed from MRRC rail track, but since no photographs remain this cannot be confirmed. There was no connection with the Kalamazoo Rail Racing Club, but one has to wonder if Tom Cook or any of the other members patronized the track. Sadly of course, nothing remains of the cars or track.
 

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I know this topic has been discussed already, even at length, but since we are lucky enough to hear from Phil Frank, who is one of the more knowledgeable people I know about early slot/rail racing, thought I'd start a new topic...

But first... welcome to SlotForum Phil, glad to have you here!

Any more details on this track? Were you able to talk to Asa or his family?

Even if the original Kalamazoo club wasn't directly involved, I would have to think it had some influence... or cross-fertilization as we say these days!

Too bad none of those cars or track are left...

Don
 

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True!

Maybe I should have specified in the "modern" era, say post WWII...

There also seem to have been a fair number of arcade games with large size slot/rail cars in that period; we have some sketchy info about them, and a few pictures, even a clip or two, but not too much hard data.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi Don,

Thank you for the warm welcome, and sorry if I put the post in the wrong section!

I would agree with the post from 300SLR; the Patrick Kennedy track likely was the first commercial track in the world.

The intent of my original post was to provide information on possibly the first commercial raceway in the United States.

I spoke with Mr. Currier's son in the mid 1990's, and my information is based on his memories; of course our conversation took place some 40 years after the fact. It makes sense though, as one would have to assume if 1/32 rail cars were ordered from England in the late 1950's, they would have to have been MRRC. Of course it's possible Mr. Currier had someone custom build cars for him, but wouldn't the nature of a rental track require the availability of easily replaceable spare parts?

Yes, it's sad about the cars and track but it's really disappointing not even photographs exist.

Phil
 

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Hi Phil,it was good talking to you earlier this evening by phone. This to me is the most exciting thing about our hobby. The rumors,mystery, & scant details we uncover about the past. To me its like being an archaeologist digging through time to uncover the past from the darkness & bring into the light of day. The further back in time we go the more layers of rock,dirt,etc we must dig through & remove to discover the actual artifacts. I enjoy finding rare & formally unknown electric race cars & putting them into my museum. Thats why i like the cars built before 1960 & especially the cars made before WWII. To me when i find & purchase a electric race car from the 1920s or 1930s its like finding an ancient statue from Egypt. I know Phil has done more research into rail cars in the USA than anyone else. I know he spend years searching & interviewing people who were involved in rail racing in the 1950s. I hope Phil you will continue to contribute to the forum. I hope you might post some photos on this site one day. Thanks,Bernard
 

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Tony Condon
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hi
I second what bernard says ,now we have lost jeff davies to the forum it would be good to have another authority on rail racing .

cheers tony
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hey Bernard,

As always, it was a pleasure speaking with you. I like your archaeology metaphor, but you do realize if it's true it kinda makes you the Indiana Jones of slot cars. No offense meant to anyone, but in my opinion, Bernard absolutely has the best collection in the world! I don't know if anyone else on this forum has ever dealt with Bernard, but most of the coolest things in my collection have come through him! Thanks Bernard!

Regards,
Phil
 

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Another rail track in the USA was in Aurora, IL at Richards' bros hobby shop. Also an MRRC dealer. Track was part of the stores club program and not really a rental option. Racing was an adult/club members only deal. As a teen, I got to own my own car and drive on the track. Not certain of first year, but operated as early as 1958 when I raced on it. My dad was a member of the U-control flying club and past president of it. We also were active in the early 1950's gas tether car group. That rail track IS BURIED under the adjacent bank parking lot....for the acheologists to ponder.

I was one of the kids that helped build the first slot track in 1960 (across the river) in the basement of Aurora Cycle and Hobby. Sell track time?...a new idea of the mid 1960's......
 
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