Boston – The Charles River Speedway first opened in 1899 to entertain Bostonians with chariot races and parades. The Speedway complex, like much of Boston, was designed by legendary landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. Originally the complex included a riverfront promenade, carriage parkway, a mile-long racetrack, and a bicycle track. The Speedway was an active venue for horseshoes and racing through the 1940’s. During the 1950’s when the lease on the space ran out the Speedway was transformed into a public recreation area according the Boston Public Library.
All that remains of this complex is a property on Soldiers Field Road. The property was recently placed on Preservation Massachusetts’ “Most Endangered Historic Resources.” The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has found difficulty in finding a buyer willing to cough up the nearly $3 million to purchase the property. According to the Boston Herald the DCR is now hoping to find a developer with an unconventional approach to purchase the site in exchange for a long-term lease. One potential candidate for this purchase is Historic Boston Inc., which is known for their redevelopment of historic sites throughout Boston. However, there are no immediate plans released by Historic Boston Inc. While the building is estimated to have $200,000 in immediate, emergency repairs, it was also placed on the National Register of Historic Places list as being a sure bet for status as a landmark in Boston. The Department of Conservation and Recreation is hoping to spark community interest in the site along with the interest of developers to push this project forward.
-Photo by Boston Public Library, Flickr Creative Commons