Historic Structures

Longacres Park Horse Track, Renton Washington

Date added: March 9, 2018 Categories: Washington Stadium

The development of Longacres began June 23, 1933, when successful Seattle real estate investor Vinson Joseph Gottstein signed a ten-year lease option for 101 acres of the James Nelson dairy farm in the Green River Valley. In anticipation of the project, Gottstein had organized the Washington Jockey Club earlier that spring. From the newly-formed Washington Horse Racing Commission, he secured a 40-day racing season to commence on August 3rd, and hired architect B. Marcus Priteca to begin preliminary design work. Priteca's earliest extant drawing for the project is a site plan of the Nelson farm parcel, dated June 21, 1933. Subsequent drawings for the initial phase of development date from June 30 through July 18, overlapping several weeks of actual construction work in July.

To meet the August 3rd deadline, construction proceeded at a pace remarkable even by the standards of that era. Twentyeight days from the first shipment of lumber to the site, the track was completed. A plentiful force of willing labor, made possible by widespread Depression unemployment, allowed work to continue into the night. Despite one serious downpour, construction remained on schedule.3 On opening day, August 3, 1933, Longacres boasted a freshly painted red and silver grandstand, a two-story clubhouse with open verandas, a paddock, a jockey's building, and various smaller structures. Across the sandy racing oval and its undeveloped infield was an orderly backstretch complex of some 40 stables.

Longacres was shaped by a series of land acquisitions which more than doubled the acreage of the property over a period of sixty years. Joseph Gottstein's lease-option of the original 101-acre site was subsequently modified and extended. It was not until June 28, 1945, that Gottstein and his wife Luella purchased the land under Deed of Trust.

Soon afterward, on August 27, 1948, the Gottsteins conveyed the original L-shaped parcel of land, identified as tax lot 16, Henry Header Donation Claim #46, to Broadacres, Inc., a corporation established by Gottstein himself. Broadacres, Inc. became the legal owner of essentially all of the Longacres site as it expanded. Host, but not all, of the land was leased back to the Washington Jockey Club for operation and development of the race track.

Over the next 60 years Longacres expanded to its final 1990 configuration of 211.6 acres.

The Washington Jockey Club and its successor company, Longacres Race Track, Inc., owned and operated the racecourse facilities at Longacres. Investments made in improvements of the physical plant were theirs. The Gottstein and Alhadeff families remained the majority shareholders in these companies throughout the history of the track.

In 1990 the Alhadeffs sold the Longacres property to the Boeing Company through the sale of stock in Broadacres, Inc. Longacres Park, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Boeing. Boeing leased the track facilities to the newly-formed Emerald Racing Association from 1991 through 1993.

Demolition of the complex began in 1992 for a Boeing facility.