It seems that Belle Isle has been considered an ideal place for racing since it’s early days as a public park. Horse racing was the project placed before the members of the park board in January 1900.
From the Detroit Free Press, 13 January 1900, Saturday, Page 6
Some twenty owners of fast horses representing the Highland Park Driving Club and other similar organizations met with the members of the park board yesterday afternoon, to discuss the matter of building a permanent speedway either along the Boulevard or on Belle Isle. The members of the board were favorable to the project, but the stumbling block with them is to decide on a location. Many of the horsemen favor the Boulevard west of Woodward avenue, but the property owners there threaten to get out an injunction if the board does not prohibit racing at that point. It was finally decided that a committee of horsemen should consult with the board and decide on the location so that an estimate of the cost can be made as soon as possible.
Commissioners Blain and Van Leyen favor putting the speedway along the north shore of Belle Isle, near the club houses, as they feel assured that there will be no trouble securing the necessary money to build it and some of the most prominent horsemen agreed with them. No one location will suit everyone, but the majority of owners will be content to get a speedway, no matter where it is located. Fred T. Moran, C.H. Ritter and James Hunter were named as committee by the Highland Park Driving Club, and Capt. Killen, Henry Addison and George M. Walde were added. The committee will meet with the members of the board next Tuesday afternoon, when they will probably visit Belle Isle, and perhaps the Boulevard. It seems likely that if the speedway project gets through it will be placed on the island.
Postcard Courtesy of the Detroit Public Library: Burton Historical Digital Collection. Be sure to visit their online collection. You never know what you might find there!