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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

American Girl, Elmira's Beloved Horse

American Girl as depicted by Currier & Ives.
By Diane Janowski, Elmira City Historian

$20,000 was riding on American Girl, the most famous racing trotter in the country, on October 2, 1875 right here in Elmira.

The Elmira Driving Park Association formed in 1874 to support and promote the sport of horse racing. Their half-mile track was on a 30-acre lot along Grand Central Avenue. The inaugural week of racing on the track was September 28 – October 1, 1875 with a “Free-for-All” race on October 2.

Dr. Eldridge & Elmira’s Rolling Mills

By Diane Janowski
The Rolling Mills in Elmira along the Chemung Canal,
circa 1860.  

Elmira City Historian

There is a big building on the Clemens Center Parkway that we pass every day and don’t think about. This building is all that remains of the Elmira Iron and Steel Mills, or, as it was known, the Rolling Mills.

Dr. Edwin Eldridge, of Eldridge Park fame, was born in Ulster County in 1815. He graduated New York Medical University and settled in Binghamton. While practicing medicine he built a villa and gardens and invited all of Binghamton to enjoy picnics and fireworks on his grounds. The New York & Erie Railroad took his property through eminent domain for their plans to extend the rail line across the Southern Tier in the late 1840s.