Mystery Photo No. 28: A day at the races

January 27, 2013
Mystery Photo No. 28

The Soap Box Derby was a popular event nationwide in the mid-20th century. Local events like this one, presumably in Washington, qualified young drivers for regional competition, with a few lucky kids competing for the world championship at Derby Downs in Akron, Ohio.

Although this photo or similar ones were published in the local newspaper, there is no date on this photo and so we don’t know where to start looking. We’re hoping readers can identify some of the people in the picture so we can solve this mystery.

The Soap Box Derby began in Dayton in 1934 and moved to Akron the next year. At its peak in the 1960s, the championship races attracted crowds exceeding 70,000. It’s still going on, although its popularity has diminished.

As can be seen on the boys’ T-shirts under magnification, this race was sponsored by The Observer and The Reporter. That means the photo was taken before May 1967, when the two papers were merged and became the Observer-Reporter.

If you have some idea when and where this race took place, or who some of the participants and spectators are, email Park Burroughs, retired executive editor, at, or call and leave a message for him along with your telephone number at 724-222-2200, extension 2400.

With luck and the help of our readers, we’ll solve this Mystery Photo and publish our findings next Monday.



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