The New Wellsville Fairgrounds & Driving Park


(Picture above is a portion of a panoramic portrait of Wellsville,NY by the Wellsville Photographer Stewart, undated--between 1910-1930.  The full panoramic portrait is viewable at the Wellsville Town Clerk's Office, Main Street, Municipal Building Lower Level)

(From article printed in Wellsville Daily Reporter, Wellsville,NY-August 21, 1905)

The New Wellsville Fair Grounds and the Driving Park

Have Cost to Build Nearly $100,000 and are the Finest in All of the Eastern States---The Dates are August 22, 23, 24, 25.

Nothing but words of praise are heard for the beautiful and complete fair grounds and track of the new Wellsville Driving Park.  Situated in a amphitheatre in the hills, in the beautiful Genesee valley, the coming Horse Show, Fair and Lake Erie Circuit Races, next week , makes a most desirable place to spend a day or the week.

The Genesee valley has long been famous for the hospitality of its people, the beauty of its landscapes and the charm of its scenery, its rich crops of fruit and grain, for its fat cattle and sheep and other blooded live stock and above all it is the Blue Grass Region of the North when fine horses are considered.  Upon its broad and fertile acres are located some of the choicest fruit and stock farms of America and from them, as well as from many states, will be gathered a notable exhibit at the Wellsville Fair the coming week.

Everything has been built new this year.  The track is the finest ever made, with perfect soil to make good footing, the home stretch eighty feet wide, the turns are seventy feet and with equipment and care it is equal to any Grand Circuit track.  One of the greatest entry lists ever secured for a half mile track will ensure fast and exciting races.  The management gives sixteen races, two of them are stakes of $1,000 each, and the others are for purses of $400 each, making $7,600 set aside for the races.  Many Grand Circuit stables are entered and all told over 200 horses will compete in the races.

The Wellsville Driving Park is now a completed plant of unusual beauty, with every facility for amusement, pleasure and comfort.

The premiums offered in all departments are the largest in the State, outside the State Fair, over $10,000 being given for premiums.  Some of the immense entries show how they will be competed for.  Over 2,000 birds are entered in the Poultry Show, 300 head of cattle in the cattle department and 150 horses for the open air horse show of Tuesday and Wednesday forenoons.

The Main Exhibition Hall is one of the finest yet constructed, having over 8,000 square feet of floor space with all conveniences, fitted with sitting and lounging rooms, modern water closets and dressing rooms with checkroom and over fifty private exhibitors' booths where will be gathered a notable display of manufactures and of arts.  The ladies have taken great pains to have the best exhibit ever seen in the domestic, culinary and fine arts departments.

The grounds are electric lighted by night with many arc-lights, natural gas is used on the grounds for cooking, lighting and heating, hot and cold water in the buildings and stables, and the horse stables all tile roofed, dry and clean, with wide awnings and ventilating windows.

The Grand Stand is 160 feet long, with easy back seats, tile roofed, seats over 2,000 people.  It is built at such an angle to the track that every seat commands a direct view of the whole track and no one needs to stand up to see the horses come down the home stretch.

The management has rented over 15,000 square feet of canvas to house the live stock and poultry show.  It will be the little White City.

Many carloads of exhibits are coming from Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania to exhibit at Wellsville and then move on to the New York State Fair at Syracuse.

Don't forget the Pike, the amusement centre, the fortune teller, the Merry-Gol-Rounds, the huge pleasure wheel, the Ocean Wave, the Razzle Dazzle, and many other inventions to while away a pleasant hour.  The song of the barker and the speeler will be heard, the Little German Band, the doll racks, the cane racks, the pounding and pulling machines, these and many others with the thousands of holiday and pleasure seekers will make a crowd on Pleasure Lane long to be remembered.

Then there is the beautiful Woodland Grove of ten acres, all within the Fair grounds, with its Band stand and dance hall and the many candy, icre cream and lemonade booths, the "hokey pokey man", and the "little dog sandwich man".  Here is a natural forest of fine old pines and beeches left to show us nature's haunts, where the air is cool as sylvan dales, with many seats and benches, swings and teeters for the children, with long tables for family and neighborhood reunions and picnic parties, all for the price of one admission.  It is the midst of the heated season and no finer spot can be found for picnics than the Woodland Grove of the Wellsville Driving Park.


Those who love horses can see The Horse of the Century, the mighty Direct Hal, 2:04 1/4, himself an unbeaten race horse, the winner of thirteen straight races through the Grand Circuit and of $56,000 in the stakes and purses.  He is likely to be the most sensational sire of the decade as his son, Walter Direct, 2:05 0/4, has demonstrated by his entry into high class stake society; having simply played with his fields in the greatest pacing races of the year.  With Direct Hal, will be shown the former World's Champion pacing mare, Lady of the Manor, 2:04 1/4; and her two months' old filly by Direct Hal.  This filly is a sister to Lord Direct that sold for $10,500.


Over 200 horses are entered in the racing events, and they are among the best in many states.  Wm. Cobb and John Kinney are coming with some great horses from the Granite State Park, Dover, N.H., E. E. Earling with a great stable from Bethlehem, Pa., including the great horse, Riley B., 2:05 1/4;  Vance Nuckols, the Grand Circuit driver from Glenville, O., with a cracking good stable; for Nuckols never campaigns anything but the best.

The Free-For-All pace will be the race of the year over half mile tracks for not this season have such sensational horses met at one track.  They are Dariel, 2:00 1/4, the World's champion pacing mare;  Frank Yokum, 2:05 1/4, with the champion race record over half mile tracks and who has been invincible this year; Anidrosis, 2:05 1/4, a fast game horse direct from winning in the Grand Circuit at Detroit and Buffalo;  Riley B., that has swept all before him throughout the West for several seasons; and Gentry, 2:07 1/4, from Williamsport, Pa.  Do not forget too, those game fast race horses, Roamer, 2:05 1/4 and The Judge, 2:10 1/4, owned by the Gaffney Brothers, of Bradford and Kane, Pa; and the little race horse, Rudy Kipp that last week put the Warren, O., track record at 2:10 1/2 and who ccan go seconds faster.  What an array of sensation speed!  When they score for the word next Friday it will be a race worth miles of travel to see.

The $1,000 stake for 2:18 pacers has twelve entries and it is thought that it will take miles around 2;12 to win it.  Then excitement is at fever heat over the $1,000 race for 2:20 trotters on for Friday.  The public sentiment is divided between Jack Wilkes from Vance Nuckols' stable, Cora Direct from Parker's Landing, Pa., and the good black trotter Bingham, owned by Oak Duke, of Wellsville and driven by the great reinsman, John Kinney.  Bingham has the best of the records, having a mark of 2:14 1/4, and he can go in 2:12, but it is also said that the others mentioned can do as well.  Then there is Mary Scott from Canada, and Kapolina, 2:17 1/4, and Imperial Allerton, 2:17 1/4, all in the race , so a dark horse in the field may take the big purse.  The 2:20 trot will be decided Friday while the $1,000 pacing race is on the card for Wednesday.

Every day is a big day.  Tuesday has the best list of starters ever seen at a first day's races with twenty horses to score for the word in the 2:17 pace, a battle royal, and big fields in the 2:19 trot and 2:30 and 2:10 paces on Tuesday.

You will have to come and see it.  The half has not been told.  No words can exaggerate the completeness of the grounds and buildings and the care and ability exercised by the management in giving to Wellsville the most stupendous exhibition and pleasure entertainment in her history, as well as providing a better place for Fairs than has ever been built in the U. S. with a half mile track.  There are 118 acres in the breeding farm with four big barns.  Thirty acres are fenced in the Driving Park proper.  The main entrance is a beauty with the finest offices and sitting room for the convenience of exhibitors, a complete telephone exchange with ten phones upon the grounds, twenty private boxes at the Grand Stand.  All in all it is a wonder no place in New York State, except the State Fair Grounds at Syracuse compares with it.  Come join the merry throng.  Throw care to the winds and help Wellsville give a fitting opening to her new pavements, and lend a hand to help the liberality that has made Wellsville so prosperous and popular.  Season tickets only One Dollar.

NOTE: Additional parts of this article are available at the Thelma Rogers Genealogical & Historical Society from which this portion was obtained.

Also, See the OCTOBER 2005 NEWSLETTER, Thelma Rogers Genealogical and Historical Society - 118 East Dyke Street; Wellsville, NY 14895 - Shirley Engle, Newsletter Editor.