History buffs and car enthusiasts will have plenty to do Sunday afternoon when a historical marker is unveiled at Heidelberg Raceway to honor its rich legacy.
By Mike Jones
July 14, 2012
Cars used to roar around its racetrack and the traveling circus often erected its massive Big Top in the infield.
But the old Heidelberg Raceway faded into the memory of many residents years ago as the track closed and big box retail stores took over the land straddling Heidelberg and Scott Township.
The dedication of the blue-and-yellow Pennsylvania Historical Marker located next to the King’s restaurant at Raceway Plaza will begin at 2 p.m. Sunday and include state and local dignitaries along with racing experts.
Heidelberg officials have worked in recent year to have a historical marker erected at the old raceway after learning the last ever Big Top circus in the country closed its tents in the track’s infield. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus had its final show under the famous Big Top at the racetrack on July 16, 1956 before sports arenas or convention center were commonly used.
The track closed in 1973, its stands and press box were shipped to Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway in Imperial and big box retailers moved into the open space.
Heidelberg Raceway was finally given historical status late last year and the town easily fundraised the nearly $2,000 needed to install a sign.
Some of the speakers for Sunday afternoon’s unveiling include Andrew Masich of the Pennsylvania Historical Museum Commission, David Kohler of the Pittsburgh Circle Track Club and Steven Witlock of the NASCAR Members Club.
The Circle Track Club will also bring vintage racecars that once sped around Heidelberg Raceway.
Anyone who wants to attend is asked to park at the Walgreens or Raceway Shopping Plaza.