Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Pawtucket 01-09-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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6 THE VALLEY JANUARY 9-15, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE | PAWTUCKET EDITION donated them quiet. Ring said it was a man who wanted an entity to take this rich history into its care. The cost just for scanning the images will run between $50,000 and $100,000, said Ring, and there will be additional costs for archival housing and identifying subjects of photos and cataloging the work. Some dates, horse names and jockey names are included. There are can- did shots, images from the jockey room, pictures from the hospital, and fine photo finishes, all part of a deep history. This thoroughbred racing track was where Seabiscuit set records and was the first park to install a photo finish camera and a starting gate. "We don't even know what we've got yet, I have to get my head around what we have" said Ring. "It's invaluable." He said as he learns more and more about the politics of the track and life of the jockeys, he'll give more talks to promote the archive, with the plan to make it available digitally over the next year. The Pawtucket Preservation Society has reached out about giving a similar talk in that city, he said. Some of the photos in the collec- tion have already been in the public view. A calendar was produced a while back, but there were no iden- tifications even for that, said Ring, as the photos were chosen simply for how cool they looked. It's difficult to say how long a proj- ect such as this will take, said Ring. Typically, though, when there's this level of excitement around a certain project, the work gets done more quickly and the grants for doing the work are easier to come by. The Narragansett Park archive will be central to the state agency's spring fundraising party, which will have a "Day at the Races" theme. "Gansett," as it was more popu- larly known, attracted crowds of 40,000 or more, including many celebrities. By 1937, it was the most profitable track in the country, and it became a gathering place for the glitterati of the late 1930s and '40s: Milton Berle, Cab Calloway, Bing Crosby, Jimmy Durante, Mickey Rooney, and Alfred Vanderbilt were regulars, as were star athletes such as Jack Dempsey, Babe Ruth, and Lou Gehrig. Its creation also sparked the so-called "race track war," a long Rhode Island story of money, politics, and conflict. Seating for the program is is lim- ited to 75 and is first-come, first- served. Ring has held positions at the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University, the Providence Public Library, and the Watkinson Library at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. Other Valley Talks will include: • Jan. 27: Former National Park Ranger Chuck Arning will explore the pull factors that led to the immi- gration of the Irish to the Blackstone River Valley. • Feb. 10: Baseball enthusiast and vintage ballist Jon Henson will sur- vey the rise of the beloved game in the 19th century. • Feb. 24: Mount Saint Charles Hockey Coach David Belisle will discuss the history of the school's illustrious program. • March 10: Writer and historical re-enactor Paul Bourget will explain why the battles fought in 1864 were pivotal to the outcome of the American Civil War. For more information, visit http:// . RACETRACK From Page 5 GAME MENU 1290 Mineral Spring Ave. North Providence 722-3222 Fax Orders 722-0300 Hours: Mon-Fri 7 a.m.-6:30 p.m.; Sat. 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m. email: Too busy to call? 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