Brief History of

Old Wellsville Fairground 1888-1904

With Pictures from Don Baldwin Collection, by permission


The Wellsville Fair Association was organized in 1887 and located on the flats to the rear of Island Park. Suitable buildings were built and a mos successful exhibition was held in 1888. They were annual affairs and included harness racing with bookmakers operating openly. James J. Corbett gave a boxing exhibition; there were bicycle races; sometimes, hose races in which various hose companies vied to see which firemen could lay and connect their hose first.
The enclosure inside the half-mile track was the sports arena. It was here that John "Mugsy" McGraw got his real start, according to his own statement, after being a flop in Olean. The building and grounds flooded each year so a new commission was formed; a new location for the grounds was secured on East Dyke Street and on August 19, 1905, a new Wellsville Fairgrounds and Driving Park, costing nearly $100,000 was completed. In more recent times this track was used for stock-car racing; later the land was sold for the new Washington School.

(This article taken from "A History of the Town of Wellsville New York" by Martha Elston Howe, Town Historian. Book owned by Donald Baldwin.)