General Philip Sheridan’s
Washington Park Race Track in about 1898. Although the American Derby was run at Washington Park in 1893 for an exceptionally rich purse, growing anti-gambling
sentiment shuttered the venue the next year. It reopened sporadically until being bulldozed in 1905 when gambling was outlawed in Illinois. This photo gives a good idea of a middle-class outing in the Gay Nineties; those who did not rate grandstand seats were relegated to turf risers cut into the ground. Note the variety of wooden chairs, which people brought from home and carried onto the “el” as they traveled to the track. The womens’ dresses and flowered hats are pretty, the men are dapper in their hats, and folks look like they’re having a grand time.