Concept

Garden State Park Racetrack

Résumé
Garden State Park was a harness and thoroughbred race track in Cherry Hill, Camden County, New Jersey. It is now the site of a high-end, mixed-use "town center" development of stores, restaurants, apartments, townhouses, and condominiums. Garden State Park's 600 acre (≈1 square mile) land area is roughly bounded by Route 70, Haddonfield Road, Chapel Avenue, and New Jersey Transit's Atlantic City Rail Line. Garden State Park opened on July 7, 1942 after delays caused by raw material rationing at the United States' entry into World War II. Due to the seizure of 30,000 tons of structural steel by war authorities, developer Eugene Mori mostly constructed Garden State Park's ornate Georgian-style grandstand of wood. Limited amounts of steel came from the demolition of New York City's elevated railways. Despite this inauspicious start, 'the Garden,' as it was known, was officially 'out of the gate.' In its heyday, it would host some of the finest thoroughbred racehorses in the nation at the signature Jersey Derby. Its Garden State Stakes and the Gardenia Stakes offered some of the largest purses available for two-year-olds. Horses raced at Garden State Park included Whirlaway, Citation, and Secretariat on a cold, rainy Saturday afternoon in early 1972 in the Garden State Futurity. Garden State Park's success sparked a wave of entertainment-oriented growth and development in the formerly rural community of Delaware Township, New Jersey (now Cherry Hill Township). Mori followed his achievement at the racetrack with the construction of the Cherry Hill Inn on the site of Abraham Browning's Cherry Hill Farm (at Route 38 and Haddonfield Road); and in 1967 the Cherry Hill Lodge, also on Route 38 to the east of the Cherry Hill Mall. Soon to follow in 1961 was the Cherry Hill Shopping Center (today's Cherry Hill Mall, the first enclosed shopping mall on the East Coast) and the super-luxurious Rickshaw Inn with its gold-plated roof, which was situated on Route 70 opposite Garden State Park.
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