Most People have Forgotten about this Abandoned Place in Arizona

Arizona boasts numerous natural wonders, historical landmarks, and cultural attractions, but amid its treasures lie forgotten and abandoned places. These remnants, whether ghost towns, ruins, or simply odd, reveal a side of the state often overlooked. One such place is the Phoenix Trotting Park, a decaying former horse racing track nestled in the desert.

Overview of the Phoenix Trotting Park:

Inaugurated in 1965, the Phoenix Trotting Park, located in Goodyear, Arizona, approximately 20 miles west of Phoenix, was designed for harness racing—a unique form where horses pull a two-wheeled cart called a sulky. The track’s avant-garde design included a cantilevered grandstand accommodating 12,000 spectators, a glass-enclosed clubhouse, and a towering structure standing at 150 feet. The construction cost of this futuristic facility amounted to $10 million, equivalent to around $83 million in today’s currency.

Reasons Behind Closure:

Despite its bold concept, the Phoenix Trotting Park faced insurmountable challenges leading to its closure after just one season:

  1. Remote and Inaccessible Location: Situated in an undeveloped area lacking paved roads, water supply, and electricity, the track’s reliance on generators and water trucks proved impractical. Its considerable distance from the city and airport further hindered accessibility for fans and bettors.
  2. Harsh Climate: The Sonoran Desert’s extreme temperatures, reaching 104°F in July and 41°F in January, posed discomfort for horses, drivers, and spectators. Exposure to sun, wind, dust, sandstorms, floods, and fires added to the adversities faced by the track.
  3. Intense Competition: Rivalry from other horse racing tracks like Turf Paradise and Rillito Park, offering more popular forms of horse racing, compounded the Phoenix Trotting Park’s struggle. The emergence of alternative entertainment options, including casinos and sports events, further diminished its appeal.

Following its closure in 1966 due to financial losses amounting to $2 million in the inaugural year, the track fell into abandonment. Despite plans to convert it into a shopping mall, the property remained untouched, a silent witness to a failed venture.

Current State and Ownership:

Now abandoned for over 50 years, the Phoenix Trotting Park attracts urban explorers, graffiti artists, and thrill-seekers. Stripped of fixtures and damaged by fire, water, and weather, the track stands as a testament to a bygone era. Acquired by the state of Arizona in 2017 through a land swap, the track remains fenced off with no plans for restoration or demolition. Despite warnings, curious visitors continue to explore the decaying structure, creating a precarious yet intriguing atmosphere.

Conclusion:

The Phoenix Trotting Park stands as a forgotten relic, embodying a failed dream, a squandered investment, and a lost chapter in history. While most have relegated it to oblivion, the track persists as an eerie reminder of the past, challenging the present to acknowledge its existence. The Phoenix Trotting Park, a place left in decay, continues to evoke memories in the minds of those who choose not to forget.

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