Oregon Area Historical Society
This month’s blog is written by JoAnn Swenson from our Tuesday Crew.
MADISON INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY STOCK CAR RACING IN OREGON, WI
The track, located just south of Hwy 138 on Sunrise Road between Oregon and Stoughton, originated as a quarter-mile dirt track and was known as the Oregon Legion Speedway. Earth movers began the construction of the new asphalt-paved quarter-mile race track.
In May, 1963 Sam Bartus, operator of a track at Wisconsin Rapids, purchased the former Go-Kart Track from Elving Kjellstrom. The new track will be an asphalt-paved track and will be lighted for night racing. Bartus named the track Capital Speedway .
The Grand Opening on August 2nd and 3rd drew a large attendance to the race track with seating for 3,000 and additional standing room for another thousand. Sky divers provided additional entertainment, parachuting from 7,000 feet and aiming for a target on the ground. A 50-lap feature race highlighted Friday’s racing.
In 1969 Bartus removed the quarter-mile track and built a high-banked state-of-the-art half-mile oval which he declared it to be “Wisconsin’s Fastest Half-Mile”. The name of the track was also super-sized to Capital SUPER Speedway. In the 1970s some of the best drivers in the Midwest drew large crowds to the speedway. Unfortunately, by the end of the decade the track was closed due to small car counts and a declining crowd size.
It was re-opened in 1980 and in the years that followed, the track operated under the ownership and management of several different individuals. For a time, the track was covered with dirt, renamed Impact Speedway and featured sprint cars, dirt late models and midgets.
Wayne Erickson purchased the track in 1992. He removed the dirt and repaved the track. On May 18, 1992, the first race was run under the new name of Madison International Speedway (MIS).
Over the years, additional grandstand seating, a scoreboard on the backstretch, and a quarter-mile track inside the half-mile oval was added as well as improvements to the pit area and the concession area.
Well-known drivers from across the Midwest raced at the Madison International Speedway; including local area natives Joe Shear, Dick Trickle, and Matt Kenseth. The Joe Shear Classic has been a Midwest tradition for 15 years at the Madison International Speedway and will be held again in 2023 on May 7th at MIS.
100 Years Ago: June 1923
- Wisconsin is emerging from an epidemic of measles. During the first four months of 1923, measles killed 114 Wisconsin children. During the first five months, 25,000 cases were reported and it is believed several times that number went unreported.
- Miss Janet Thompson returned Monday from her year’s work in the High School at Niles, Michigan.
- Miss Lucy DeJean was a guest of her sister, Miss Cornelia, last Saturday. She was on the way from Milwaukee to Duluth to which city she has been transferred. She holds a responsible position with the telephone company.
The Helping Hand Community Club will meet Friday evening. At the Oak Hill school house. Sandwiches, cake and coffee will be served. Professor A. H. Sholts will give an interesting talk.
Miss Marie McGill arrived home Thursday from Superior where she has been attending the Normal. She leaves again Sunday for Superior where she will attend summer school.
Mrs. Perry Netherwood and Mrs. I. N. Black entertained 55 ladies at a luncheon followed by cards, at the home of the former, last Thursday.
50 Years Ago: June 1973
- Karen Smith is elected president of the Wisconsin Dental Assistants Association for 1973-74. Karen was employed as a dental assistant for Dr. W.E. Ogilvie in Oregon for almost 12 years, and for the past 2 years as chairside assistant for Dr. Paul Appel, Madison.
- A once-in-a-lifetime occurrence took place last Sunday when Sonny McCune and Jack McManus were playing cribbage. Sonny held a hand with three 5’s and Jack of spades, the cut showed a 5 of spades for a perfect 29!
- Shown cutting the cake at the recent retirement party held in his honor is Gordon Beason, who retired after 20 years of service to the local post office. Helping Gordy celebrate are his wife Stella, also a former post office employee, and Gordy Hansen, past Oregon postmaster and presently a rural route carrier.
- The Oregon Fire Department received a call to the Dorothy Strait home, Route 3, Goodland Park Road. Faulty electrical wiring in the attic had ignited the ceiling joists and insulation.
- One of the worst storms in area history struck last Saturday afternoon in the Brooklyn and Oregon area as well a through the southern part of Wisconsin. Winds over 80 miles per hour reported, combined with heavy rains and hail in some areas. Below are photos of the Richard Noyce home and the Ron Van Horn home, where roofs were torn off
- Summer Fest is Here:
- Silvio Schaller, Oregon’s AFS student the past year prepares to return home to Switzerland after an eventful season. He is shown here in the Oregon post office as he prepares to mail some of his luggage on ahead.
25 Years Ago: June 1998
- A parent initiated grant proposal to create a charter school at the middle school level that was accepted by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction failed to gain the endorsement of the Oregon Board of Education The grant had been written by a group of Oregon area parents without the permission or assistance of board members, teachers or the administration. Other concerns ranged from it being aimed only at top students to not having classroom space.
- Prairie Dedication: Sixth graders at Oregon Middle School planned and participated in a prairie celebration. The celebration included student performances of skits, music, and poetry related to the prairie. The celebration continued outdoors with an unveiling of a sign that identified the prairie as “Pleasant Oak Prairie.” The new name was a result of a naming contest organized by the sixth graders. Later on in the day, every sixth grade student planted a new series of prairie plants.
Oregon village trustees, acting as a committee of the whole, spoke in favor of changing the village’s structure away from having a combination clerk/treasurer/administrator’s position and moving toward creating a separate administrator’s and clerk/treasurer’s position. Their meeting in the form of a “committee of the whole” was called to discuss the recommendation made by a consulting services firm saying a village administrator was needed to effectively handle the affairs of the village.
Nearly 40 eligible middle school students took advantage of an opportunity to take standardized tests usually taken by older students. Not only did they get practice in taking these tests, but the test results gave them, their parents and the school suggestions for making program modifications in middle school and high school. The fact that they took those tests through the Midwest Talent Search from Northwestern University in Evanston also meant they would be alerted about summer enrichment options and eligible for awards from Northwestern and from the Wisconsin Center for Academic Talented Youth.
Class of ’98 Bids Farewell: The graduation ceremony for the Oregon High School class of 1998 held under sunny skies at Panther Stadium was not only full of original messages, but full of sincerity and hope. The Superintendent had this note of thanks to the graduates: “Thank you for your peaceful solutions, thank you for your active involvement, thank you for your contributions to your school and your community and thank you for making this a more beautiful place. Above all, thank you for encouraging me and giving me hope for the future and reminding me that behind the headlines is a positive, deeper story to be told about young people.”
10 Years Ago: June 2013
- The Village Board Monday abandoned plans to purchase the historic home on S Main St. and convert the property to a downtown parking lot. This decision was made after much opposition by the community to relocating the home.
- Oregon Chamber of Commerce promotes Judy Knutson to executive director. She was serving as the president of the Chamber’s board of directors.
- Madison International Speedway officials have announced that the first round of the Super Late Model Triple Crown Challenge on Sunday, June 16, will now be known as the Dick Trickle Memorial 99. The race, named for the late racer, will be the first of four scheduled Triple Crown Challenge events at Madison International Speedway. “Dick Trickle was a hero to so many of the race fans in this area” MIS general manager Dave Grueneberg said. “He was one of the guys that put short track racing on the map. You just don’t have drivers today that can accomplish what he did, being able to go from track to track and win regularly.”
- With the help of some friends last year, Gail and Al brown organized the state’s first chapter of Bicycles for Humanity, an international organization that sends used bikes to people in developing countries. So far, the Browns and their key partners, Jerry Tyler and Wendell Matzke have collected more than 400 bikes.
- Daniel Blomgren, of Oregon, graduated from Partners in Policymaking on May 11, a leadership program from the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities. “I really enjoy advocating for myself and others” Said Blomgren. “I hope we can increase transportation options for people with disabilities in Wisconsin”.