Fairmount Park 1909

This is coverage on the 1909 Fairmount Park road race in Philadelphia. The competition was for the "Founder's Week Trophy." It was organized by the Quaker City Motor Club. The inaugural race was in 1908. Iconic pioneer photographer Nathan Lazarnick attended at least one of the Fairmount Park races and a healthy collection of images can be found in the Eastman House.
The first article (attachment FairmountPark071809) is from July 18, 1909 Indianapolis Star and reports on how race organizers had raised the question to manufacturers about whether or not the much feared foreign marques should be allowed to compete. William J. Mead of Buick announced that his company fully supported the entry of the European manufacturers.
Attachment Fairmont091209 contains an article published in the Indianapolis Star on September 12, 1909. This article discusses preparations for the upcoming race to be conducted in Fairmount Park, a public park in Philadelphia. The enthusiasm of the city's social elite is emphasized.
The article predicts an attendance of some 300,000 people at the 200 mile contest. Choice vantage points went to the highest bidders at auction as the event was billed as a charitable fund raiser. Choice parking spaces, of which there were some 1,000 at appealing locations around the eight mile course, were up for grabs. About 480 of these spaces were near start-finish where the pits were located.
A grandstand contained almost 4,000 seats and 105 boxes. Again, these were available through auction. The stand was designed by Phillip H. Johnson who is described as "a well known architect." Secretary Harry Harbach of the Quaker City Motor Club announced the Benz entry of Erwin Bergdoll. Bergdoll not only owned the car but also planned to drive. The Bergdolls were a prominent family in the Philadelphia area.
The White Company's garage at 629 North Broad Street in Philadelphia was announced as the official "head garage" of the meet. The Autolight Company (not "Autolite") and Motor Supply Company agreed to donate a gold watch as an award to the driver with the "most consistent record."
Attachment FairmountNews100509 contains an article that is a very short note on practice for the event. It is from the October 5, 1909 Indianapolis News and mentions the fact that officially it was a race for charity. This was a product of what the organizers had to agree to in order to gain the cooperation of city officials.
The next article (attachment Fairmount100909) from the October 9, 1909 Indianapolis News and is a report on the race won by George Robertson in a Simplex. Robertson, who won the Vanderbilt Cup the previous year and the Lowell road race the previous month, was easily one of the top American drivers from 1908 to his career-ending crash on Long Island in 1910. Other top stars in the race were Lewis Strang (Isotta), Louis Chevrolet (Buick) and Harry Grant (ALCO).
Attachment Fairmount101009 contains an Indianapolis Star article that summarizes the race. It reports that 21 cars were in the field and provides good detail on the top finishers as follows:

The article reports that Robertson pretty much had his way with the field but was kept honest by Dingley. The Star gave a sub-head to the third place Apperson as the car was made in Kokomo, Indiana. An estimated 25,000 spectators gathered around the course, a far cry from the 300,000 projection mentioned earlier.
E.O. Haynes produced the wrong kind of excitement when he clobbered a telegraph pole in his American on lap eight at the hair pin turn near Sweet Briar. Even though he and his riding mechanic were hurled from the car neither was hurt seriously.
A closer call was produced when the Acme of driver Malin Leinau threw a tire (and I suspect this was only a tire, not a wheel) and it sailed into the grandstand to strike a boy, knocking him out cold. The boy did recover. J.F. Betz in a Simplex recorded the race's fastest lap in seven minutes, 54 seconds.

FairmountPark071809.pdf1.46 MB
Fairmount091209.pdf335.43 KB
FairmontNews100509.pdf790 KB
FairmontNews100909.pdf653.07 KB
Fairmount101009.pdf598.52 KB