Atlanta Speedway Construction

The article contained in attachment Atlanta091509 was originally published in the September 15, 1909 Indianapolis Star. The subject was an intimidating rival to the newly, albeit tragically, christened Indianapolis Motor Speedway in its opening races the previous month. This was the Atlanta Speedway, a two mile crushed stone track that promised record breaking speeds.
The article is surprising in that it was printed in the Star, a paper that in virtually every other example was biased in favor of their hometown temple of speed. In this instance, however, the Atlanta track is described as superior. My guess was not a product of the Star editorial staff but was simply a reprint from an Atlanta publication. Still, given its slant touting the southern track as frankly "better" than the Indianapolis Motor Speedway it is surprising the Star would print it. Imagine Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Carl Fisher spraying a mouthful of coffee upon reading this in his morning paper. Check out this excerpt:
"When these men arrive (the drivers and teams) they will see a course two miles around that will be the fastest in the world, although Indianapolis now claims that honor. There is no question about this. It will be the biggest thing of its kind ever attempted and Atlanta is going to have another enterprise that will excel all others in importance."
The speed and thoroughness with which the construction work was taking place is highlighted in the article. This contrasts favorably with the trials and tribulations of Fisher and his team had in completing their track in time for the first races. Fisher had laborers working 24 hour shifts - at night under the glow of his Prest-O-Lite gas headlights positioned around the grounds as they toiled to smooth the uncured stone and asphaltum gum running surface.
Atlanta looked to be much better organized as the article proclaims construction was ahead of schedule - admittedly an exception in major undertakings. Twenty train cars of gravel were reportedly arriving each day with ten "skilled engineers" overseeing the graders. Three "giant steam shovels" were moving three yards of dirt every minute and the operators were paid 90 cents for their efforts (although not clearly stated I assume this was per day).
Along side the shovels were some 500 mules and horses used by an army of contractors for a variety of purposes such as hauling carts. These beasts of burden where housed and fed under tents near a small "town" erected for the workers. The "professional men" (assuming this to mean supervisors and engineers) were housed in cottages that were once farm houses when the land grew crops. It is unclear what structures the laborers lived in but a good guess would be makeshift tents with perhaps wood plank floors as depicted in movies about 19th Century mining or railroad construction "towns." Work continued around the clock through shifts.
The access infrastructure around the facility included three "routes" and a "road" for automobiles. It's a guess, but the "routes" referred to were perhaps paths for walkers, horses or even wagons. The Atlanta & West Point Railroad and the Central Road and the Georgia Railway and Electric Company reportedly had lines under construction to reach the track. Atlanta Speedway officials expected 80,000 to 90,000 people to flock to their upcoming inaugural race meet in November.

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