Island Park Dragway/Former LHR Great Meadows

Discussion of the L&HR and its predecessor the Warwick Valley Railroad for the period 1860-1976 at its inclusion with ConRail

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Island Park Dragway/Former LHR Great Meadows

Postby Paul Miller » Sat Feb 16, 2013 2:36 pm

Rumor has it that Island Park Dragway in Great Meadows has shut down for good. The land that it sits on was formerly owned by the LHR, and was used as a turning wye for the steam era. In 1962, Ed Kowalik purchased the property and converted it into a drag strip. Many stories have been told of race cars crashing through the barrier at the end of the strip and landing on or near the LHR tracks. In 1964, Don Garlits made the first officially recognized 200 mph run in drag racing history there.
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Re: Island Park Dragway/Former LHR Great Meadows

Postby NYS&W142Fan » Sun Feb 17, 2013 3:50 pm

Paul Miller wrote:Rumor has it that Island Park Dragway in Great Meadows has shut down for good. The land that it sits on was formerly owned by the LHR, and was used as a turning wye for the steam era. In 1962, Ed Kowalik purchased the property and converted it into a drag strip. Many stories have been told of race cars crashing through the barrier at the end of the strip and landing on or near the LHR tracks. In 1964, Don Garlits made the first officially recognized 200 mph run in drag racing history there.

Paul,
The wye you peak of was originally just to the West of the drag strip. Part of the drag strip is built on the East/North leg of the wye. I was there one evening when a car went off the end of the strip and landed on the tracks. Was quite a frantic rush to get the car off the tracks. It is a shame we are losing the Strip.
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Re: Island Park Dragway/Former LHR Great Meadows

Postby jmp883 » Thu Feb 21, 2013 9:00 pm

Island Dragway.....it's been years since I've heard that name. My friend and I used to run a car in the NHRA Modified-Stock class back in the early 1980's. Island Dragway was a great place to race. I wasn't quite as railroad-aware back then as I am now and didn't know that the track was built on part of the L&HR. Had I known that I would have spent more time scoping out the railroad history in the area than I would have spent in the pits keeping our car running between rounds!

It would be a shame if Island is closing down for good. I spent many great weekends there racing. Unlike Englishtown it was easy to get in and out of and was never crowded.
Joe P, KC2PJL

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Re: Island Park Dragway/Former LHR Great Meadows

Postby CNJ Fan 4evr » Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:19 am

I too grew up with both the L&HR and Island Dragway. I first remember the L&HR in Belvidere when we used to go to old Doc McDonald.I could haer the horns from my home on Montana Mountain when air was right. Also could hear the EL in Washington form there too. I also saw it along 46 between Butzville and Great Meadows. I first went to the track in 1980. By then traffic on the L&HR was all but done.They were having the 20th Anniversary event that night and told stories of cars not stopping and landing on the tracks.I remember when they tore the tracks out.
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Re: Island Park Dragway/Former LHR Great Meadows

Postby CNJ Fan 4evr » Thu Jun 20, 2013 7:47 am

Great news for all of us fans of drag racing at Island Dragway. It WILL be re-opening on July 5.
Unfortunately the L&HR won't be coming back. I see the Anthracite newslettter has been doing stories on the L&HR. A friend gave me his copy,knowing I am such a L&HR fan. Great stuff in there.
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Re: Island Park Dragway/Former LHR Great Meadows

Postby Paul Miller » Thu Jun 20, 2013 2:55 pm

CNJ Fan $evr- I did notice on Facebook someone posted they will be re-opening. Great news for race fans!
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Re: Island Park Dragway/Former LHR Great Meadows

Postby CNJ Fan 4evr » Sat May 10, 2014 6:56 am

Does anyone know where I might be able to find a picture of the wye at Great Meadows? I am in the process of working on a possible photo history book of Island Dragway and would love to include a photo of when it was the wye.
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Re: Island Park Dragway/Former LHR Great Meadows

Postby CNJ Fan 4evr » Sat May 10, 2014 6:59 am

CNJ Fan 4evr wrote:Great news for all of us fans of drag racing at Island Dragway. It WILL be re-opening on July 5.
Unfortunately the L&HR won't be coming back. I see the Anthracite newslettter has been doing stories on the L&HR. A friend gave me his copy,knowing I am such a L&HR fan. Great stuff in there.

My error above. It was the Lehigh Valley chapter that ran the L&HR series in their Lehigh Lines newsletter. GREAT stuff.
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Re: Island Park Dragway/Former LHR Great Meadows

Postby Paul Miller » Mon May 12, 2014 4:15 pm

CNJ FAN-the only picture I've ever seen is the one I used in my book. It's at the Belvidere Public Library. Otherwise, try historic aerials. They have pictures of it since 1931, got abandoned around 1962 if I remember correctly. You can use Alphano Road, Great Meadows as a reference when punching in an address. Happy searching! lots to see yet.
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Re: Island Park Dragway/Former LHR Great Meadows

Postby CNJ Fan 4evr » Sat May 17, 2014 6:40 am

Paul,
What is the name of your book? I want to check it out.
I thought about that Historical Aerials but haven't done it yet.
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Re: Island Park Dragway/Former LHR Great Meadows

Postby Paul Miller » Mon May 19, 2014 8:44 am

Tracking Down the Lehigh and Hudson. There's 2-3 copies of it in Belvidere. I have a few left at home if you'd eventually like to purchase. Mainly before and after pictures of the structures along the R.O.W. in NJ.
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Re: Island Park Dragway/Former LHR Great Meadows

Postby rfalcone » Tue May 20, 2014 7:42 am

Paul,

I would like one of those books!! If you would, please PM me with the details.

Thanks,

Rich
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Re: Island Park Dragway/Former LHR Great Meadows

Postby Paul Miller » Tue May 20, 2014 12:42 pm

Rich, check your private messages
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