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Rare early cadastral map of Louisville, Kentucky, one of the earliest maps to locate the Louisville Jockey Club, which would later become known as Churchill Downs.

The map shows the town plan, streets, subdivisions and new additions, railroad lines, public buildings, schools, parks, cemetaries, islands, bridges and a host of other details. The stock yards and Kentucky Wagon Works locations are shown.

The Louisville Jocky Club was the brainchild of 26-year-old Col. M. Lewis Clark (grandson of explorer William Clark), devised the idea of a Louisville Jockey Club for conducting race meets during a visited to Europe. Upon his return from Europe, Clark began development of his race track which would serve to showcase the Kentucky breeding industry. The track would eventually become known as "Churchill Downs." The first reference of the name Churchill Downs came in an 1883 Kentucky Derby article reported by the former Louisville Commercial.

The first public notice of establishment of the track was reported in the May 27, 1874 edition of the Courier-Journal. Clark and a group of prominent Louisville gentlemen met at the Galt House on June 18, 1874 to prepare articles of incorporation with the actual filing for the Louisville Jockey Club and Driving Park Association taking place on June 20, 1874. To fund the construction of the track, Clark raised $32,000 by selling 320 membership subscriptions to the track at $100 each. Eighty acres of land, approximately three miles south of downtown were leased from Clark's uncles, John and Henry Churchill. A clubhouse, grandstand, porter's lodge and six stables were all eventually constructed on the site for the opening of the track.

Churchill Downs filled a void in Louisville left by the closing of Oakland and Woodlawn, two earlier race courses. The then-rural location was located along Louisville and Nashville Railroad tracks, allowing for easy transport of horses. Clark, who preferred longer races to the relatively short ones that had become popular by the 1890s, was running short of funds, and in 1893 sold the track to a syndicate led by William Applegate. The new ownership would soon institute many changes, such as shortening the length of the signature race to its modern 1 1/4 mile, commissioning the famous twin spire grandstand in 1895, and adorning the winner of the Derby with a garland of roses, a tradition that also began in 1895.

The map is extremely rare, with only 1 variant edition with text panels on the sides located by OCLC (Univerity of Virginia).

Condition Description
Some minor fold splits and other minor repairs