These races were rather informal and were held on Thursdays, Friday & Saturday afternoons. Never on Sundays, the Sabbath. Cleveland’s finest including Rockefeller, Perkins, Hanna and Edwards along with some 50 other of Cleveland’s premier dealmakers showed up to race each other.
Many rivalries developed over the years each man wanting bragging rights for the fastest horse in town. Trotting horses were used here and thus the entire trotter racing industry had its roots in Cleveland, Ohio.
The sleigh races took place between East 9th and East 40th Streets. Early on Euclid Avenue was over 60 feet wide with no trollies to obstruct the roadway. The city would detour traffic around this portion of Euclid Avenue for the races as well as lift the 5mph speed limit. Literally thousands of people would line the Avenue to watch these famous Clevelanders show off.
Jeptha Wade owned the best sleigh I have read about – a bright red vehicle that was made special in Russia. Although these races lasted for over 30 years, there are very few pictures and even less written about them.
The sleigh races contributed to Cleveland’s unique character at this time “Millionaire’s Row” was so much more than just a gathering of mansions. It was a very tight neighborhood which Cleveland’s public could enjoy and admire. The Avenue served to motivate the creation of future wealth as many would dream, work hard, take risks and aspire to one day becoming part of the most famous Avenue in the world.