IMS Bridge - 1910

This amazing image orginally appeared in the May 22, 1910 Indianapolis Star as part of the build-up to the May 1910 race meet at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This was the Sunday edition of the paper just five days prior to the beginning of the meet and as such was packed with articles concerning the event in anticipation of subscribers spending more time with the paper over coffee on their day of rest. I lifted this image from the first page of a section devoted to previewing the May 1910 "national championships," a newly-announced distinction by the American Automobile Association (AAA) for select race meets.
The photo is a rare glimpse of one of the extensive infrastructure changes from the days of visionary leadership at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In the wake of the tragic inaugural auto races that resulted in five fatalities at the track in  August 1909 the team introduced numerous changes to the facility. Overshadowed by the mind-bogglingly massive brick-paving project that earned the venerable track the nickname "Brickyard" in the autumn of that year was the introduction of retaining walls as well as this automobile bridge.
The bridge was an important feature for customer convenience. Previously customers, after crossing the track in their cars to the infield, had to wait for the race to end before they could go back. This provided them with the freedom to come and go as they pleased. A signaling system of horns helped direct traffic to avoid collisions with other cars or spectators. I believe this bridge was located near the north end of the track, probably near what is now Tunnel 7. Do not confuse this bridge with the suspension bridge erected for foot traffic the previous year.

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