By Billy Ortiz, Lakeside Historical Society Member
Photos by Billy Ortiz and Lakeside Historical Society
September 26, 2012 (Lakeside) – Founded back in 1907, the Lakeside Auto Speedway is considered the first purpose-built auto racing facility in the United States. When completed, the Lakeside Auto Speedway transformed the nascent motor sports movement by moving races off dangerous public roads and horse race tracks.
The Speedway was constructed by John H. Gay, owner of the popular Lakeside Inn as a means to improve business and attract more people to his resort In the East County of San Diego.
John Gay invested $10,000.00 in the project, which resulted in the construction 60 foot wide 2 mile long high-speed packed clay oval circling Lindo Lake adjacent to the Lakeside Inn.
Lakeside Auto Speedway opened on the weekend of April 20-21, 1907. As a huge crowd watched, a number of speed records were set during the weekend, culminating with famed race car driver Barney Oldfield setting a new world automotive speed record of 69.49 miles per hour in the peerlees 'Green Dragon' racer.
The speedway continued to attract racers and spectators alike for over a decade until the Lakeside Inn closed and was demolished in 1920.
Fast forward to September 2012. The Lakeside Historical Society received a grand opportunity to have a monument built at its history center located at 9906 Maine Ave in the Historical District of Lakeside, California.
A group called E-Clampus Vitus – Squibob http://www.squibob.org/, a fun-loving, hard working generous group of men who travel the country at their own expense building monuments at historical sites, met with LHS members to discuss whether or not it would be a good fit for LHS to have the monument. The monument was originally slated to go in at Lindo Lake Park where the speedway once circled, but were met with too much red tape by County officials so a secondary location was chosen.
The LHS jumped at the opportunity for this most historical landmark be placed within LHS property. A spot in the Rose Garden next to the old Church that was built in 1897 was chosen on the Maine Ave. side of the property facing east towards where the speedway once was. Back in 1907 there were no buildings on the east side of Maine Avenue in Lakeside and the track ran about a hundred feet from where the monument now stands. It must have been a roaring time for those folks back then.
With that, In the words of E-Clampus Vitus:
SOUND THE HEWGAG!
By order of the Noble Grand Humbug, "DJ" David Blaylock, the hewgag has sounded to call all brothers of E Clampus Vitus, their Widders, Orphans, and all Friends of the Lakeside Historical Society, to the dedication of our newest Historical Landmark.
We will reveal a brand new monument and historical plaque dedicated to the history of the Lakeside Speedway, the first purpose built automobile race track in the United States and site of world record speed run by Barney Oldfield.
This dedication of our organization’s newest Historic Landmark will be held on Saturday September 29, 2012, at 11:00am sharp, at The Lakeside Historical Society/Lakeside Church, 9906 Maine Avenue, Lakeside, California.
For directions to the event, call Lakeside Historical Society 619-561-1886 Tuesday -Friday 10 a.m. till 2 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. till 1 p.m. Phone will not be manned on event day.