Speedway

A TIMELINE OF FAITH AND COMMUNITY: SPEEDWAY, 1909 TO 1994

1909 The Indianapolis Motor Speedway opens.
Carl Fisher has an idea to create a “horseless city” opposite the Speedway.  The city is one of the first “scientifically designed” industrial communities in the United States.
1911 First auto race at Speedway.
1912 Fisher builds new Prest-O-Lite factory in Speedway.
1913 Hugh McKennon Landon starts Electric Steel Castings Corporations.
1917 During World War I Speedway houses an army factory and camp east of Main Street and north of the B & O Railroad tracks.  There are barracks for 650.  The factory rebuilds and tests fighter plains.  The airstrip for testing is near the back stretch of the track.
The first Sunday School is organized by Ida Marvel in a schoolhouse at 10th and Auburn Streets.
1919 American Art Clay Company (AMACO) locates in Speedway.  Their first product was Permoplast, a modeling clay.
1920 Allison Experimental Company changes name to Allison Engineering Company.
1923 Esterline Angus locates in Speedway.
1926 One hundred men erect the Speedway Christian Church in one day.  First service in the church is held the following day.
Residents petition Marion Co. Board of Commissioners to change status to Town of Speedway.
Census of Speedway shows population of 507.   There are 307 voters and sixty-seven property owners.  The town trustees move that the town seal will bear the emblem of an airplane and the words, “Town of Speedway.”
1928 First Community Bible School at Speedway Christian Church.
1929 Ownership of the Allison Engineering Company passes to General Motors.
1935 Saint Christopher Parish is established.
1936 Bishop Ritter breaks ground for St. Christopher Catholic rectory and chapel.  (Building is dedicated September 5, 1937.)
1937 Father Lindemann from St. Christopher’s Catholic church becomes official chaplain of the Motor Speedway.
St. Christopher’s holds its first annual lawn festival.
1941 The first worship service of the congregation that will soon form St. Andrew’s Evangelical Lutheran is held at the Speedway Theater with fifty adults and sixteen children in attendance.
1942 Congregation incorporates as St. Andrew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Town Hall erected.
1945 Anton Hulman, Jr. purchases the Speedway.
1947 Forty people meet to organize what will become the Speedway United Methodist Church.
Speedway United Methodist is formally launched with a $20,000 donation from the Board of Missions and $3,000 from the bishop.
1948 St. Christopher School opens at 5335 W. 16th Street.
Women’s Society of Christian service formed at Speedway United Methodist.
1949 The 104 members of Speedway United Methodist Church purchase two lots for $4,500.
St. Andrew’s Evangelical Lutheran dedicates church building at 16th and Beeler Streets.  Formerly services were held at the Speedway Town Hall.
1950 Membership of Speedway United Methodist Church is 230.
1953 Speedway United Methodist Men organize. Their biggest money-maker is parking lot rental on Qualification and Race days.
1954 Rev. Howard Wright becomes pastor of Speedway United Methodist Church.  During his nine-year stewardship, the congregation grows form 241 to 1,300.
1956  Covenant Baptist Church members meet in garages as a mission church for the 2,000 homes in Eagledale.
1958 New St. Christopher’s Church is dedicated.
Covenant Baptist Church building is constructed for $72,000 at W. 30th Street and Falcon Drive, with seating for 380.
Speedway Baptist is formally organized.
Fifty-eight people petition the Bishop of Indianapolis for the establishment of an Episcopal Church in Speedway—later to be called St. John’s Episcopal.  The first services are held at St. Constantine & Elena Roumanian Orthodox Church on W. 16th Street.
1959 First resident vicar, the Rev. John Lowe, arrives to head the St. John’s Episcopal Church.  Services are held at the Westside YMCA.
1960 Groundbreaking for St. John’s Episcopal Church.
St. John’s Episcopal Church occupies its new structures.
St. Andrew’s Evangelical Lutheran moves to its new building on Crawfordsville Road.  The move is in response to parking problems and growth of the town.
Members of St. Luke’s United Church of Christ formally organize and locate building at Beeler & 16th Streets, which they purchase from St. Andrew’s Lutheran.
1961 Forty people meet to plan what will become the John Knox United Presbyterian Church. The first services are held in September.
1962 John Knox United Presbyterian is officially organized. There are 120 charter members.  Rev. Laurence A. Sunkel, Jr. is the organizing pastor.
1963 Boy Scout Troop 410 forms at St. John’s Episcopal.
1964 Phase III of St. Andrew’s building and the youth building are dedicated.
Construction begins on the John Knox United Presbyterian Church.
1965 The first unit of John Knox United Presbyterian Church sanctuary and four classrooms are completed.
Speedway Town Board votes to create a library.  1,200 people sign petition supporting it.  The library will be financed by a twenty-nine-cent tax levy.
1967 Groundbreaking is held for the library.
1968 New Coca-Cola plant locates at 5000 W. 25th St.
Official opening of the Speedway Library.
1969 The Speedway Lions Club donates the one and 1.5-acre site to the Library.
1971 John Knox United Presbyterian Church completes seven additional classrooms and office space.
1973 St. Christopher’s rectory is expanded and the grounds are re-landscaped.
1974 More than ninety percent of the graduating class at Speedway High School started kindergarten in Speedway.
The third unit of John Knox United Presbyterian is completed, doubling the size of the sanctuary.
1975 Membership at St. John’ s Episcopal Church is 120 families.
By this year the Prest-O-Lite facilities cover 46 acres.
1978  Speedway is among several county schools fighting the school desegregation plan ordered by Judge S. Hugh Dillon. The Speedway schools were ordered to accept 300 black children from Indianapolis.
1985 Voters reject proposal to switch to an elected school board from one appointed by the Town Board.
1987 Sharon L. Zishka is town’s first elected female official to Town Board.
1989 The school district’s total enrollment is approximately 1,350.  Ten percent of the students are minorities.  Speedway is excluded from court-ordered desegregation.
1990 Impact of the Indianapolis 500 race remains strong on Speedway.  The Classic Motor Inn room rent increases from $33 to $250 during the month of May.  Pit Stop Liquors, within 2 blocks of the Speedway, will have as many as 100 customers lined up to buy liquor the Saturday before the race.  As much as eighty percent of the store’s business occurs in May.
According to the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, the economic impact of the race on Speedway and Indianapolis is approximately $46 million “new money,” which they estimate will be turned over 2.2 times resulting in a total impact of approximately $101 million.
1993 Attendance on race day is approximately 400,000.
The Lions Club celebrates its 50th anniversary with 121 members.
The Town Council sets up a Beautifications and Improvements Committee whose first task is to produce a design for a town flag.
“Neat lawns, quiet neighborhoods and pride at maintaining its independence from Indianapolis are cornerstones of the town,” according to theIndianapolis Star.
1994 The NASCAR 400-mile race is held for the first time.
Speedway resident Joseph Wilson announces  “Speedway GREEN Alliance,” a group of citizens working to advocate environmental awareness.
Speedway police have established two Crime Watch groups in the Coppertree apartments after residents complained about vandalism and burglaries.
“Dollars for Scholars” program raises scholarship funds to assist Speedway graduates in seeking higher education.  In the five years the program has been in existence, volunteer student phone-fundraisers have raised more than $50,000.