Northville Downs

At the beginning of the 20th century, a nine hole golf course was established on the corner of Center and Seven Mile Road. Later this land would be turned into an “Athletic Park” where harness horse racing occurred. In 1944, Northville Downs was constructed and became the first nighttime harness race track in Michigan. The track has stayed in operation since its opening in the mid 1940’s.

Before Northville Downs was constructed in 1944, Northville Race Track was bringing attention and people from all over the state to Northville. Northville Race Track was located in the current location of Northville Downs in Downtown. The Detroit Free Press reported frequently about the large and popular races that occurred at the track. As the first nighttime racing rack for horses, stables were at maximum capacity regularly with trotters and pacers traveling as far as the Upper Peninsula to compete. In addition to a popular race location, Northville was also the center of horse breeding in the state. As the host of the Wayne County Fair races held every September, the fall was a busy time in the developing town.

Northville race track 1900
Northville race track 1900

“RECORD ENTRY LIST FOR COUNTY RACES.” Detroit Free Press (1858-1922): 19. Sep 27 1922. ProQuest. Web. 23 Nov. 2015 .
Cooke, Frank. “LOCAL STEEDS WILL FEATURE THE NORTHVILLE FAIR RACES.” Detroit Free Press (1858-1922): 25. Sep 12 1920. ProQuest. Web. 23 Nov. 2015 .