Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Elgin in Kane County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Elgin Road Races

 
 
Elgin Road Races Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, April 21, 2012
1. Elgin Road Races Marker
Inscription. This marker is along the “south leg” of the Elgin road races. Beginning in 1910, many leading drivers and mechanics competed here in grueling tests of speed and endurance that contributed to the development of the modern automobile.
Manufacturers were attracted to these races because the course had no cross roads, steep hills, railroad tracks, or population centers to reduce the car’s speed. The race’s success was enhanced by proximity to Chicago and the cooperation of area farmers.
The 8-1/2 mile route consisted of oil-soaked dirt and gravel roads. From here, the course extended east onto Larkin Avenue, north on McLean Boulevard, west on Highland Avenue, south on Coombs Road, then east again on Galena Road - now route 20.
The first entries were factory stock models with the fenders and windshields removed. Beginning in 1911, race cars designed for the Indianapolis 500 were allowed to compete.
Thousands of spectators attended each year as racing continued from 1911 through 1915. After being suspended during World War I, the contests resumed in 1919 and 1920 - a period when cars took on a more streamlined appearance.
The Elgin Races lost favor as motorists and farmers objected to road closures. For safety reasons, open road courses like these were replaced by closed track racing. After a revival in
Elgin Road Races Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, April 21, 2012
2. Elgin Road Races Marker
1933 to coincide with the Chicago World’s Fair, the Elgin Road races passed into automotive history.
 
Erected 2010 by The Elgin Area Historical Society and The Illinois State Historical Society.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Illinois State Historical Society marker series.
 
Location. 42° 2.331′ N, 88° 21.792′ W. Marker is in Elgin, Illinois, in Kane County. Marker is at the intersection of U.S. 20 and Nesler Road, on the right when traveling east on U.S. 20. Click for map. Marker is on the southeast corner of Nesler Road and US 20. It is on the property of The National Bank – Elgin, 3151 US 20. Marker is in this post office area: Elgin IL 60124, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Washington Reformed Presbyterian Church (approx. 2.5 miles away); Elgin Milk Condensing Company (approx. 3.9 miles away); Elgin's Masonic Temple Cornerstone (approx. 4.4 miles away); Elgin National Watch Company Factory Bell (approx. 4.4 miles away); Memorial Tribute to Elgin Academy's Patriotic Sons Who Served in the Great Civil War, 1861-1865 (approx.
Sign on back of Elgin Road Races Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, April 21, 2012
3. Sign on back of Elgin Road Races Marker
4.4 miles away); Elgin National Watch Company (approx. 4.5 miles away); Elgin (approx. 4.8 miles away); Illinois Watch Case Company (approx. 4.8 miles away but has been reported missing). Click for a list of all markers in Elgin.
 
Categories. Roads & VehiclesSports
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. This page has been viewed 614 times since then and 34 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
Paid Advertisement