(The following was written by Lewis Garrison, and is reprinted from 1927’s “Grove City – The Town with a Future”, available at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum. Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)
Beulah Park is not the creation of a year, for, in another decade, it will be half a century old.
Nestling off to the northwest of Grove City and partially within the corporate limits of the prosperous Community is the internationally-known Beulah Park, Capital City Racing Association area for the production of the “Sport of Kings”. As the place now stands equipped, it is Ohio’s premier place for enjoyment of races by running horses.
Some 40 years ago, so Grove City history has it, the land now occupied was primitive woodland. Many of the trees have been spared destruction from axemen, urged on elsewhere by the demands of modern civilization, and the present substantial ownership intends that there shall be no more assaults made on the timber that provides a most delightful and protecting screen against the summer sun. In olden days, when businessmen of the present were youthful or even children in arms, Beulah Park was a recreation place for Grove City. For picnics and similar outing parties, it provided accommodations repeatedly. Finally installation of the traction line provided more rapid communication with Columbus then was obtainable by horse-drawn conveyances. It was then that Mr. A.G. Grant and other forward-looking citizens of Grove City financed the expansion project of a half mile racing course, the one that still exists and which is destined to endure long after present stewardship has made final accounting.
With the addition of the track, Beulah Park develop rapidly as a sports center. In addition to simon-pure race meets, Franklin County fairs have been held within it. Boxing matches have been decided there and, if one should look closely now, outlines of a baseball diamond can be found on the infield.
Colonel James Westwater, veteran horseman of Columbus, and a participant in the initial race meeting of the Spanish War days of 1898, was the last individual to own the Beulah Park property. It was he who added the commodious barn that visitors now see directly after passing through entrance gates and which is only a few steps from the paddock area. Under his Direction, several pretentious meetings for trotters and pacers were conducted on the track which had wide fame for being a fast-drying one.
Desire of Mr. Westwater to part company with his holdings paved the way for the formation of the Capital City Racing Association. Title to the land and all the buildings thereon was passed early and in the fall of 1922 and by December first of that year the present operating company was brought into being with substantial Ohioans as the bulwarks of it. In modernization work, the corporation has builded well.
(The continuation of this story in the next blog entry).