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Runaway: 1916

Runaway: 1916

        Runaways -- real ones, calculated to make your hair stand on end -- will be caught by members of the Traffic Squad. -- N.Y. Times

June 24, 1916. "Police show at Sheepshead Bay Speedway -- rescuing woman from runaway horse." A benefit for "widows and orphans of the men whose names are carried on the Honor Roll." 5x7 glass negative, Bain News Service. View full size.


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Reversing the View

To give you an idea of the size of the former horse track and current (in the photo) auto speedway, this shot is from the infield looking back at a rather impressive double-deck grandstand. The stand of trees to the right in the posting and left here gives the spot away. Maybe the horses wanted one final fling before giving way to four-wheeled horsepower. Didn't matter. By 1919 the speedway was at its end, four-legged or wheeled, and replaced by housing by 1923. Not a stitch of the former Sheepshead track, one of four that once thrived near Coney Island, remains.

Run run run run runaway

Olde Buck's comment reminded me of an incident I saw when I was in the ninth grade in Marathon, Florida.

For some event, one of the female students was posing on a horse in front of the school when the horse just took off. The young woman was screaming as she disappeared down the road, and we were all standing around stunned.

I believe a police car finally caught up with and stopped the horse somehow and the student was unharmed, but we didn't learn that until the following day. The horse had run three or four miles with the student hanging on for dear life.

No laughing matter

This was serious business. My grandmother (b.1896) used to recount seeing such an incident at age 6. A man riding horseback lost control of his horse which was spooked by the gong of a passing streetcar. The crazed critter ran out of Barclay Street full-tilt across North Avenue and only stopped after crashing into the massive stone wall of Greenmount Cemetery. Both were killed. Grandma clearly recalled the event seventy-five years later.

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