Visions of the Past  LbNA # 16988

Placed DateJul 30 2005
Location???, IL
Found By ???
Last Found Jul 14 2013
Hike Distance?

It was the weekend of September 13th, 1958 and approximately 150,000 spectators gathered to watch Chuck Daigh win the very first race at Meadowdale International Raceway. It was amazing how the track went up so quickly, only obtaining the building permit six months earlier. It was a real show, watching the cars maneuver on the 180 degree Monza Wall which lead to the 4,000 foot main straight. Many thought the track would be a godsend for this small town, but it just wasn't meant to be.

After opening weekend, attendance began to dwindle due to many factors, including poor conditions, money and reputation. Many of the spectators attending the track those first few weeks of racing were miserable. Dust clouds formed because of high winds and shifted into the crowd, preventing them from seeing and enjoying the race. Trying to leave was yet another hassle, as the walks back to the parking lot were long and massive traffic jams were inevitable. The track itself was constantly under repair. Even at the first race, the ground had not settled enough to allow for the event. Soon, major wrecks and even a driver death at the inaugural event, though the only one ever suffered at the track, caused the track to have a reputation for being extremely dangerous.

The last major event held at the track was an SCCA Trans-Am race on the weekend of July 6th, 1968. Many other small races followed, but the track was officially closed by the end of the 1969 racing season. Plans to revive it were announced periodically, but none were ever successful.

This was not the death of the track, however. Though overgrown, it can still be visited today. While visiting this site, one can still see remnants of the Pure Oil silo, the Little Monza turn and sections of the track that have not been washed away by the elements. One can even walk the 4,000 foot, still paved, main straight.

This is where your adventure begins. Find the location of this ghost of a racetrack, now bearing another name, and make your way to the Little Monza turn. There will be maps near the parking lot to assist you on your endeavor. Feel free to take one of the brochures, so you know you are headed in the right direction. On your way toward or away from the turn, depending on which way you take around the track, you will soon come to the aforementioned Pure Oil silo bearing the track's name. Standing at the decorated wall, you will find a new trail at 330 degrees, on the opposite side of the track as the silo. Travel up this winding trail approximately 45 to 50 paces (one pace = two footfalls) until you come to a Y-shaped tree to your right. Only 2 to 3 paces further you will see a twisted tree to the right with large chunks of concrete behind it. Check the stack closest to the tree to find the new name of this location. If you have passed the information plaque, you have gone too far.

Please be careful when handling the concrete as parts may be sharp. Also, as you can see from the silo, this general area is popular with a less than desired group of people (I've been told the silo's condition is now much better!), so please hide the box as well or better then you found it. As always, be wary of poison ivy, ticks and the other dangers of venturing out into the "wild." Please let me know when you find the box and its condition, as I won't be close enough to check it as often as some of my others.