The Speedway HQ: "For Boston and Beyond"
Built in 1899, the Speedway building is a living reminder of the origins of America's urban park movement. Under the visionary leadership of Charles Eliot and Sylvester Baxter, and inspired by the example of Frederick Law Olmstead's Emerald Necklace Parks, the Metropolitan Park Commission was established in 1893 to create the nation's first interconnected regional park system. The centerpiece of this 9000 acre multi-city undertaking was the Charles River Basin Reservation, which turned a once unattractive and uninviting stretch of tidal mudflats into a place of natural beauty and public recreation. Central to this reservation was a mile-long harness racetrack, which quickly became one of the city's most popular gathering areas after its opening in 1899.
By the middle of the twentieth century, the racetrack was razed and the area it once occupied became integrated into Soldier's Field Road. For many years thereafter, the Speedway Headquarters building remained as a park management facility. Today, the historic building is largely vacant and in disrepair.