Race Track Stadium Dodge City Kansas - Great Depression

Along with a lot of other municipal structures built across the USA, the old racetrack stands were constructed by men under the WPA program in the 1930's. This program was in response to the great Depression where millions of people were suddenly out of work and penniless. The Government came up with a NEW DEAL and got the young men into camps where they could work on projects and at least have food and shelter.

Many things were done with that labor. These include many city buildings, forestry work, swimming pools, highways and you name it.

My grandfather was the city and county engineer for Ford County by that time and he told of not being paid but going to work anyway as someone had to keep the things operating. When any money did come in, the employees would split it up and have a little. It got so bad, he had to go to work for the Hutchinson Foundry as a salesman for awhile but mostly they lived in Dodge. They had a farm down on Park Street and had a cow and eggs and a beef cow at times, some crop land, a garden and could eek by on that.

He had a wheelborrow that was used in the construction of that old racetrack stand. My dad has it now. Its all metal, very small capacity with a metal wheel. It is very hard to handle and yet somehow, men used those to wheel all that concrete up the steps and build the entire grandstands. But it gave men something to do and food which they did not have back at home.  I think WWII is probably what brought us out of that time.

THey say that the men who registered for the draft were less than 50% physically fit enough for service due to lack of food during their growing up years in the 30's.

Another man told us of being in those camps and hunting with sticks. I laughed until he showed me how they would use a hardwood stick about 18 inches long and as a rabbit bolted from the grass, he could clip him as slick as can be. They had no money for bullets so hunted this way to have fresh meat. I saw him do it or would not believe it.

I don't know if its still standing or not. I guess a trip to Dodge is in order next Spring to see what I can learn and peruse the archives at the City office.