This is the eighth post in a multi-part series about Longview Farm in Lee’s Summit, Missouri.
- Built: 1916
- Modifications: None known
- Disused: Unknown
- Razed: 1980s, some parts of the track were never formally torn down and may still exist.
- Size: Unknown – the grandstand was 125 feet long
- Location: Make the tree line into a complete oval. The bandstand was exactly where the interior of the traffic circle is now. The grandstand and clubhouse were immediately to the west of that by about 100 feet.
- Listed on NRHP: No
Function and Features
As horses were a major part of the farm’s heritage, it might make sense that there would be a horse racing facility on the grounds. It’s true, there was a half-mile track on the farm. However, it might not have been used to the extent that was expected, since Longview was primarily a show horse farm and not a race horse facility.
The structures built around the race track, the bandstand, grandstand, and clubhouse, contrast the style used for every other building on the farm. While you could say the other buildings on the farm were of a Colonial Revival style, you couldn’t say the same for these structures. Yes, they shared the same tiled roof that was everywhere, but they were constructed out of logs, with the grandstand and clubhouse looking very much like log cabins structures. They were built later than most of the buildings on the farm, as they completed in 1916.
Through the early years, the race track was used mainly for private charity events and horse workouts. The middle of the track functioned a polo field, and the track itself was built to regulation and modeled after North Memphis Driving Park, which itself has long been closed.
The structures were there to hold a crowd – the grandstand could hold 1,500 people and had room for 10 horse stalls underneath. The bandstand could hold up to a 20-piece band.
It is unclear when the racing track facility became disused. The HABS pictures would indicate that it was probably at least 20 years before 1978, although I feel that it was probably abandoned long before that. The elements, lack of maintenance, and vandalism all contributed to these structures not being listed on the NRHP. In fact, the bandstand was already torn down by 1985.
The structures may be gone now, but the development of New Longview sought to emulate the historical fabric of the structures. The shape of Pergola Park Drive and Grandstand Circle follow the shape of the track for the most part, albeit with a much smaller radius. At the corner of Grandstand Circle and Rockbridge Drive, a structure has been built that appears to have the exact same foundation size as the bandstand. It’s not the original though, as the original foundation was much taller.
Anything in color? Me.
Anything in black and white? HABS.