From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Harlem Race Track Employees from Kentucky

Initially named the Harlem Jockey Club, the Harlem Race Track was located in the Village of Harlem, in Proviso Township, a suburb of Chicago, IL. It was later moved to Forest Park, located near 12th and Hannah Streets.

Harlem was a community of 15 houses in 1866 that was incorporated as a village in 1884. The population in 1900 was 4,085.

The horse race track, which was operated from 1894 to 1904, 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.1 874)
  • 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, vol. 1, by N. Bateman and P. Selby [available at Google Books]; and History of Cook County, Illinois, vol. 2, edited by W. A. Goodspeed and D. D. Healy [also available at Google Books]. For more about the race track see "Horse Racing" in the Encyclopedia of Chicago [online].

Outside Kentucky Place Name


Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry:  Lewis, Isaac E.
NKAA Entry:  Jockeys/Trainers in Kentucky
NKAA Entry:  Harris, Silas

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Harlem Race Track Employees from Kentucky,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed January 19, 2022,

Last modified: 2020-08-07 19:55:24