Thursday , July 27 2017
Breaking News

Springville’s Dygert Farm Former Site of Erie Co. Fair

The following was provided by the Concord Historical Society:

Did you know that the Erie County Fair was once held at the Dygert Farm in Springville? J. Pete Dygert, the current owner and fifth generation, shared his recollection with us:

The Erie County Fair was held at the Dygert farm and Racetrack, also called the Springville Driving Park, in 1866 and 1867. I was told the Fair Board at the time decided to find a permanent home for the Fair as it rotated among various communities in Erie County. In 1868 they voted to locate the fair in Hamburg, a considerable amount of acreage was given to the board by a Hamburg resident and the Springville site lost by one vote. This permanent location had no racetrack on the grounds and one to be constructed, the Dygert Track is historically older by approximately 10 years and more symmetrical. We don’t have a firm date as to the construction of the Dygert Farm Track, but my ancestors always ventured a hypothesis that it took five or more years to construct such a half mile track in those early years with only primitive tools and machines at their disposal. They always ventured the thought that the track was operation prior to 1860 as there are records showing races were held there prior to the 1866 fair.

The Grandstand was in existence for the fair, as well as a judge stand, horse barns and athletic fields, in the infield of the track

My Father, Dewey Dygert, always told me that his grandfather Robert F Dygert St. (1814 – 1891) built the track with assistance from various village folks — remember that village residents had a personal likeness for this project as they all had horses used to travel around the area and some were fast enough to race in competition– they mostly supplied labor, and horsepower, but little finances.

Dewey often mentioned that the track conducted races every other Sunday of the month during the spring, summer and early fall seasons with a carnival atmosphere comprised of amusement rides, merchandise booths, balloon ascensions and animals exhibitions. He further told me that his father, Robert F. Dygert Jr. told him that those Sundays were very well attended as it was the social thing to do in those days to get all dressed up in their Sunday duds. Many of the attendees came via train from Buffalo and neighboring areas and had to find housing accommodations for an overnight stay and return by train the next day. As for the horsemen racing their horses, they slept in tack rooms.

I did near that in those early days as the fair rotated among various communities and many had no racetrack and the race were conducted on the village streets, which offered poor sight lines to see the entire race, hence oval tracks came of age as did the Fair.

Comments are closed.

Scroll To Top