Friday, October 4, 2013

Historical News and Notes: Famed Stables Join in Steeplechase

The following appeared in the October 4, 1919 Evening Public Ledger.

Many Outside Horses Compete in Contests at Normandy Farms

Many out of town entries from famous stables in the East contested in the hunt and steeplechase meet today at Normandy Farm, Gwynedd Valley, Pa., the estate of Ralph Beap[v]er Strassburger.

The event was the first of the sort ever held in the Penllyn district and replaced the intial meet of the season that was planned for earlier in the season by Joseph E. Widener.

The many out of town entries come chiefly from Long Island, Baltimore and Washington. Mrs. F. Ambrose Clark, of New York, entered several flat and steeplechase horses; several entries were by F. Ambrose Clarke, and others were sent by Bayard Tuckerman of Boston, and Sidney J. Colford, of New York.

Among the local entries were those of R. H. Toland, George D. Widener, Edward E. Marshall, of the Huntingdon Valley Farms; George Brooke, 3d, W. J. Clothier, A. J. A. Devereux, of Camp Hill; R. B. Strassburger, C. Mahlon Kline, R. Nelson Buckley, and E. M. Cheston.

The two most noteable events of the [day] were the Penllyn Steeplechase which brings the owner of the winner a piece of plate valued at $100: and the Normandy Plate Steeplechase, for a purse of $500 in money or plate.

The race committee, of which Alfred A. Biddle is chairman, included R. Sturgis Ingersoll, Albert L. Smith, Edward B. Smith, Jr., C. Mahlon Kline, R. H. R. Toland, Francis Boyer, J. G. Leiper, Jr., Welsh Strawbridge, and Edward E. Marshall.

Welsh Strawbridge, member of the race committee, was the owner of Graeme Park from 1920 until he and his wife Margaret donated it to the state of Pennsylvania in 1958.

The Libary of Congress has made historical newspapers from 1836-1922 available through their Chronicling America Series.

Normandy Farm still stands on Route 202 near the Montgomery County Community College. It has been developed as a hotel and conference center and the original home houses The Farmer's Daughter restaurant.

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