The World When IMS Opened

When IMS Opened

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway officially opened with balloon races June 5, 1909, followed by motorcycle races Aug. 14 and automobile races Aug. 19. Listed below are a few major news events, cultural happenings and other facts and figures from 1909:

World and National Events
  • William Howard Taft succeeded Theodore Roosevelt as President of the United States in March.
  • The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is founded.
  • Robert Peary, Matthew Henson and four Eskimo explorers allegedly reach the North Pole.
  • Ernest Shackleton’s expedition claims to have found the magnetic South Pole.
  • Alice Huyler Ramsey, a 22-year-old housewife from Hackensack, N.J., becomes the first woman to drive across the United States. The 3,800-mile trip, from New York to San Francisco, takes 59 days.
  • Louis Bleriot becomes the first man to fly across the English Channel.
  • Construction begins on the RMS Titanic.
Area Events
  • The federal government filed a libel suit against The Indianapolis News when the newspaper questioned Theodore Roosevelt’s work on the Panama Canal deal. The News editors were indicted but refused to be tried in Washington, saying the trial should take place in Indianapolis, where the alleged libel took place. The judge ruled in favor of The News. It was a landmark ruling for freedom of the press that still stands.
Area Government
  • U.S. senators, Indiana – Albert J. Beveridge, Republican; James A. Hemenway, Republican (until March 1909); Benjamin F. Shively, Democrat (after March 1909)
  • Indiana governor – Thomas R. Marshall, Democrat
  • Indianapolis mayor – Charles A. Bookwalter, Republican
Population Facts and Figures
  • World population: 1.7 billion (6.9 billion in 2010)
  • U.S. population: 90 million (308.7 million in 2010)
  • Indianapolis population: 233,650 (820,445 in 2010)
  • Median age of U.S. population: 24.1 (37.2 in 2010)
Nobel Prize Winners
  • Physics – Ferdinand Braun, Guglielmo Marconi
  • Chemistry – Wilhelm Ostwald
  • Medicine – Emil Theodor Kocher
  • Literature – Selma Lagerlof
  • Peace – Auguste Marie Francois Beernaert, Paul-Henri-Benjamin d’Estournelles de Constant
Select Consumer Prices
  • First-class stamp: 2 cents
  • Hershey chocolate bar: 2 cents
  • Bottle of Coca-Cola: 5 cents
  • Gallon of gas: 6 cents
  • Box of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes: <10 cents
  • New car (average): $1,280
  • New home (average): $2,650
  • $1 had the same purchasing power as $24.41 in 2008
Sports Champions
  • World Series: Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Stanley Cup: Ottawa Hockey Club (Senators)
  • Kentucky Derby: Wintergreen
  • NCAA football: Yale
  • Heavyweight boxing world champion: Jack Johnson, United States
  • AAA auto racing national champion: George Robertson
A Timeline of Great Sporting Venue Openings
1863 – Saratoga Race Course

The Saratoga Race Course is the second oldest racetrack in the U.S. It is located in Saratoga Springs, New York, and has a capacity of 50,000.

Visit the Saratoga Race Course Website  
1868 – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club

The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club is located in London, England, and is best known as the venue for the Wimbledon Championships. The Club was founded in 1868, when croquet was popular. Lawn tennis was introduced at the Club in 1875.

Visit the All England Tennis and Croquet Club Website  
1875 – Churchill Downs

Located in Louisville, Kentucky, Churchill Downs is a Thoroughbred racetrack built in 1875 that is famous for hosting the annual Kentucky Derby. The Breeders' Cup has been hosted at Churchill Downs on eight occasions, most recently in 2011. The seating capacity at Churchill Downs is 120,000.

Visit the Churchill Downs Website  
1909 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was built in 1909 and is the home of the Angie's List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400, Red Bull Indianapolis GP and other racing events. The track is a two-and-a-half-mile, nearly rectangular oval with a seating capacity of over 200,000.

Visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Website  
1910 – Old Trafford

Old Trafford, located in Greater Manchester, England, is home off the Manchester United F.C. Built in 1910, Old Trafford is the second-largest football stadium in the U.K. after Wembley Stadium, with a seating capacity of 75,731.

Visit the Old Trafford Website  
1912 – Fenway Park

Located in Boston, Massachusetts, Fenway Park is a baseball park that is home to the Major League Baseball team the Boston Red Sox. Fenway Park was built in 1912 and has hosted the World Series eleven times and has a seating capacity of 37,065 during the daytime and 37,493 during the evening.

Visit the Fenway Park Website  
1914 – Wrigley Field

Wrigley Field opened in 1914 in Chicago, Illinois. The stadium is home to the Major League Baseball team the Chicago Cubs and has a seating capacity of 41,160. It is the oldest National League ballpark and the second oldest active MLB ballpark.

Visit the Wrigley Field Website  
1919 Pebble Beach Golf Links

Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful golf courses in the world, the Pebble Beach Golf Links hosts the PGA Tour and Champions Tour. The course is located in Pebble Beach, California, and opened in 1919.

Visit the Pebble Beach Golf Links Website  
1922 – Rose Bowl

Located in Pasadena, California, the Rose Bowl stadium is the home field of the UCLA football team and the site of the annual college football bowl game, the Rose Bowl. The stadium was designed by architect Myron Hunt in 1921 and has an approximate capacity of 92,542.

Visit the Rose Bowl Website  
1923 – Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

Built in 1923, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, commonly known as “The Coliseum”, is a large outdoor sports stadium in Los Angeles, California. With a maximum capacity of 93,607, it is also the largest stadium in the Pac-12.

Visit the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Website  
1924 – Soldier Field

Soldier Field is the oldest National Football League stadium, having opened in 1924. With a seating capacity of 61,500, it is also the third smallest stadium in the NFL. It has been home of the NFL’s Chicago Bears since 1971.

Visit the Soldier Field Website  
1933 – Augusta National Golf Club

The Augusta National Golf Club is located in Augusta, Georgia, and was founded by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts in 1933. It is host to the annual Masters Tournament and was ranked as the 5th best classic course in the U.S. in Golfweek Magazine’s 2014 list of courses.

Visit the Augusta National Golf Club Website  
1957 – Lambeau Field

Located in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Lambeau field is an outdoor athletic stadium built in 1957. The stadium is home to the National Football League team the Green Bay Packers. The stadium currently has a seating capacity of 80,735.

Visit the Lambeau Field Website  
1959 – Daytona International Speedway

Opening in 1959, the Daytona International Speedway is home of the Daytona 500. The track, which is located in Daytona Beach, Florida, also hosts races of ARCA, AMA Superbike, SCCA and Motorcross.

Visit the Daytona International Speedway Website  
1968 – Madison Square Garden

Madison Square Garden opened in 1968 and is a multi-purpose indoor arena located in midtown Manhattan in New York. It is used for professional basketball and ice hockey games and boxing matches. The arena has a capacity of 19,812 for basketball and 18,006 for hockey.

Visit the Madison Square Garden Website  
1975 – Mercedes-Benz Superdome

The Mercedes-Benz Superdome, originally named the Louisiana Superdome, is located in New Orleans, Louisiana. It has a listed football seating capacity of 74,295 (expanded) or 73,208 (not expanded) and a maximum basketball seating capacity of 67,500.

Visit the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Website  
2007 – Wembley Stadium

Wembley Stadium opened in 2007 and was built on the site of the earlier Wembley Stadium that was demolished in 2003. It is located in Wembley Park, London, and is host to major football matches including the FA Cup Final and home matches of the England national football team.

Visit the Wembley Stadium Website  
Fun Fact #18
The only drivers to have won the Indianapolis 500 four times each are A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears.
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