A Window into America's Past
Vintage Post Card Greetings from Louisville

(Click on a picture for an enlargement)

Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby

Derby Day
"'Churchill Downs', Derby Day,
Louisville, Ky."
ca. 1905-10
large view

Derby Day
"Derby Day, Louisville, Ky.
Kentucky's famous racing event"
Post card mailed 1914

This venerable old race track wasn't even officially known as Churchill Downs until it was incorporated in 1937.  Before that, it was properly called the Louisville Jockey Club.  As successor to the older Oakland Race Course, which was located in the present Old Louisville area at 7th and Magnolia from 1833 until the 1850s, the "Louisville Jockey Club and Driving Park Association" opened in May, 1875, founded by horseman Meriwether Lewis Clark, grandson of William Clark of the Lewis and Clark expeditions.  Merewether Clark's grandfather Churchill was one of the founders of the Oakland course, and the Churchill family owned a large tract of land south of the city where the new race course was established.

On opening day, May 17, 1875, 10,000 spectators watched Aristides win the first Kentucky Derby. The rest is history.

Churchill Downs       Churchill Downs
Views of the Louisville Jockey Club
Post cards mailed 1901-1909
(It's been a long time since we've seen carriages in the infield!)

Derby Day
"'Derby Day Races, Churchill Downs, Louisville, Ky."
ca. 1920


Vintage Postcard Views of Louisville

Old Louisville 
     Second Street  
     Third Avenue  
     Fourth Avenue  
     St James Court  
     Central Park  
     The Confederate Monument  
     The 1937 Flood  

Louisville (the rest of the city)
     Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby  
     The Old Court House  
     City Hall
     East to West along Broadway 
     The Seelbach Hotel  
     Railroad Stations   
     Without extended descriptions:
     Fourth Street   
     The Armory  
     The Old Post Office and Customs House    
     City Parks   


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