Whenever I look at an old map of Saginaw I can’t help but look at where I lived and where my parents and grandparents lived. Then I found one map and had noticed where I lived on Durand Street there was a big oval and the words “Union Park” The entrance to the park was at State and Bond and was bordered by Wiess at the North and the railroad tracks west of Durand, you may remember the railroad crossing on Weiss street near Self Sever Lumber and the Veterans Hospital.
The horse track was built by Issac Bearinger in 1888. He owned a trolley company that was eventually sold to the Saginaw Valley Traction co. I think he built it as an attraction destination for passengers to ride his trolley. The park was used up until 1905 and by 1909 it had been subdivided and sold as lots for building homes on. Maybe that is why the house I lived in on Durand was built in 1915.
Before union park was closed it was last used by Saginaw Valley Agricultural Society which had earlier built their own horse track in the South East part of Saginaw. The East Saginaw Driving Park was built in 1872 by famous Saginaw business men Eddy, Morley and Wickes and it was located between, Jefferson, Webber and Sheridan roads. The horse track was one of the finest tracks in the country and crowds of 10,000 would gather to witness some the the best racing in
the Midwest. The most famous race being held on July 18th 1874 when Goldsmith Maid defeated Judge Fullerton with a world record mile time of 2:16. It was such a tremendous feat that Currier and Ives created a lithograph commemorating the event.
When I think of horse racing and Saginaw, naturally I think of the old Saginaw County Fairgrounds, but there were other horse tracks in Saginaw, and like me, you may have lived on an old one that one saw a world record or two.
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