The Race Track – AKA Armstrong Field, Ringgold Soccer Field In Monongahela PA

I am working on an upcoming blog post and could use your help. Do any of you have any information or memories about the area known around Monongahela as the “Race Track” aka Armstrong Field? Currently located there is a soccer field, a softball field and on the southern end is Cox’s arena.

Here is a link to a great article in the Union-Finley Messenger with information about the Cox arena and Armstrong Park. To summarize the article:

  • In 1874 the Monongahela Valley Agricultural Association purchased the 25 acre plot known as the “Driving Park”. The association sponsored fairs featuring horse racing.
  • Later, the “Monongahela Driving Park Association” sponsored harness racing. Betting was allowed and thousands attended.
  • Later the area became known as the “Monongahela Speedway” as harness racing gave way to automobile racing. In 1936 “Deb Miller drove a Miller Special at an average speed of over 70 miles per hour which broke all records at that time for dirt track racing.”
  • During World War II victory gardens were planted there.
  • Shane and Kate Cox currently sponsor equestrian events most weekends throughout the summer. You can contact Shane and Kate at thecoxarena@aol.com

I found a few old newspaper articles that mention this area and I’ll post a few stories this week.

Reorganized and added photograph my earlier Monongahela Panorama post

I reorganized and added a photo to an earlier post I made last year

1909 Monongahela Panorama Virtual Scavenger Hunt.

As a side note, I spoke to one of the software engineers over at Gigapan and he complimented us on your participation in the comments area of the Monongahela panorama. Shortly after the panorama was posted, the image was ranked within the top 25 most interesting images on the whole Gigapan site! Gigapan is a partnership between Carnegie Mellon, Nasa and Google.

So far the Monongahela Gigapan has been viewed 4200 times and has received 43 comments.

1909 Monongahela Panorama Virtual Scavenger Hunt

Have you ever heard of a Gigapan? It is a photograph comprised of sometimes hundreds of small snapshots, all stitched together by computer software to create one incredibly detailed high resolution image. When the image is uploaded to Gigapan.org you can view it and keep on zooming and zooming to see all kinds of interesting details.

Click this image visit my Gigapan page. (Once there, click on the panorama image on the upper right side to view it full size)

The image above is a panorama I made by stitching together two old postcards of Monongahela which were postmarked back in 1909. Click here to view the photograph over at Gigapan.org. (You have to double click the image to get it to zoom in)

The original postcard  photographs were shot from two close but separate positions on Cemetery Hill so it was impossible to get a perfect stitch (due to parallax error) but it’s good enough to make a decent panorama. Unfortunately you can no longer photograph from the same vantage point today because the view is now blocked by large trees. But this aerial picture below can give you some idea what the area looks like today:

Aerial view of Pigeon Creek in Monongahela PA, an area formerly known as Catsburg.
A modern view of the same area where the original postcard photographs were shot. Though now Monongahela, this area was once known as Catsburg. The Catsburg mine was located off the picture to the right. Click image for larger view.

Ok, lets go on a virtual scavenger hunt. To participate you need to create a Gigapan.org account (free). Then navigate back my Gigapan Monongahela panorama page. Then zoom in and take a “snapshot” and then leave a comment on my Gigapan page.

In the panorama you will find:

(strike throughs mean the item has been identified by somebody as of Monday, March 15, 2010 – 3:19 pm)

at least two people
at least two horses or mules
train cars (aka railroad cars lol, I couldn’t remember the correct term, It’s hell getting old)
Gregg’s Warehouse (This is the warehouse for the A.M. Gregg Hardware store as seen in this 1908 photograph. You can also see an old ad and picture of the proprietor here.
– 3 and possibly 4 churches (extra credit if you can name them) (two have been found)
– a ladder
– my girlfriend’s old house
two coal mine tipples (extra credit if you name the coal mines to which they belong)
– two houses with rain barrels (one found so far)
a barn
at least 1 coal barge
another barge (not necessarily a coal barge)
a saltbox
three bridges
Whiskey Point
an outhouse
this railroad tower: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4045/4427907903_66f481e672_o.png
– a factory
laundry
the McGough Residence (oldest part built in 1802) was the oldest brick building in town until it was replaced by the architectural masterpiece known presently as the Monongahela Senior Center
– the Hotel Main
the village of Axleton
worker houses built by Liggett Spring and Axle Co.
– a gas lamp
River Hill

I will reveal the location of several of the items above each day until March 20, 2010 unless you all find things first. Also, don’t be afraid to snapshot something you discover that isn’t on this list.