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Harlem Race Track Employees from Kentucky
Start Year : 1894
End Year : 1904
Initially named the Harlem Jockey Club, the track was located in the Village of Harlem, Proviso Township, suburb of Chicago, IL. It was later known as the Harlem Race Track in Forest Park, located near 12th and Hannah Streets. Harlem was a community of 15 houses in 1866, and was incorporated as a village in 1884. The population in 1900 was 4,085. The horse race track operated 1894-1904; it was established by gamblers George Hankins and John Condon. One of the early African American residents of Proviso Township was William Robenson (b.1840 in KY), a hotel cook. By 1900, practically all of the African Americans from Kentucky, who lived in the Proviso Township, were employed at the Harlem Race Track. Below are some of their names and occupations.

Source: 1900 U.S. Federal Census


  • Marvin Blair (b.1877)
  • John McGorman [or McGowan] (b.1876)
  • John Young (b.1858)

  • Albert Bell (b.1875)
  • Alis Calarneys (b.1874)
  • Hy Carrington (b.1860)
  • Casper Cash (b.1867)
  • M. Dudley (b.1872)
  • John Griffen (b.1869)
  • William Hanson (b.1876)
  • C. Jackson (b.1878)
  • Milt Kennedy (b.1862)
  • Isaac Lewis (b.1867)
  • J. Madison (b.1878)
  • William Mason (b.1874)
  • John C. Smith (b.1875)
  • John Stepp (b.1873)
  • W. Wells (b.1881)
Stable Boys
  • E. Anderson (b.1882)
  • William Crow (b.1880)
  • George Green (b.1883)
  • Sam Kennedy (b.1880)
  • Steve Porter (b.1884)
  • S. Porter (b.1884)

  • William Reid (b.1869)
  • Charles Gather (b.1858)
Horse racing was banned in Chicago in 1905, and the Harlem Race Track was used for auto racing.

For more about Harlem see the enty in Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois, v.1 by N. Bateman and P. Selby [available at Google Book Search]; and History of Cook County, Illinois, v.2 edited by W. A. Goodspeed and D. D. Healy [available at Google Book Search]. For more about the race track see "Horse Racing" in the Encyclopedia of Chicago [online]. See photo of men riding horses at Harlem Race Track at American Memory.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, Betting, & The Derby, Migration North
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Village of Harlem, Proviso Township, Chicago, Illinois

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