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Dexter Park (Chicago)

File:Union stock yards chicago 1870s loc.jpg
Stock Yards illustration showing Dexter Park

Dexter Park was a horse race track in Chicago, Illinois built in the years following the Civil War. It was named for a gelding and trotter who had set world records for the mile[1] and inspired the naming of several new towns including Dexter, Missouri and Dexter, Texas.

Dexter Park was the first home of the Chicago White Stockings, one of the oldest professional baseball clubs in operation. Chicago's sporting businessmen formed the White Stockings in 1870 to represent Chicago as the Red Stockings had done for Cincinnati in 1869. When the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players formed in 1871, the White Stockings joined the new league and relocated to the lakefront, at Union Base-Ball Grounds. That move proved ill-fated, as it put the team's home field in the path of the Great Chicago Fire; the club did not field another team for two years while it nursed its financial position.

Dexter Park was situated on Halsted Street, between 47th Street to the south and the imaginary line of 42nd Street to the north. This property was owned by, and adjacent to, the Union Stock Yards. The "bird's-eye view" of the stockyards, from ca. 1878, shows part of the race track at the left edge. The track continued to be used for exhibitions until 1934 when it was destroyed by fire. An arena called the International Amphitheater was built on its site. The racetrack was commemorated by a road to the west of the arena, called Dexter Park Street.

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