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Soap Box Derby

Most of us travel the Nashville Highway on a regular basis. The changes taking place along that route are pretty stunning with new apartment complexes, housing developments and the construction at the GM facility. So it would be hard to imagine Hwy 31 being an ideal location for a car race, but we have come across photos that would say otherwise.

The year was 1950 and the Nashville Highway was brand new. During this period of time Chevrolet and Shell Oil co-sponsored soap box derby races across America and someone must have thought this newly paved stretch of road to be an ideal location. Because recently we came across a group of photos that show boys racing down the hill about where Kroger is located today. A quick Google Maps street view search allowed us to pinpoint the location. It’s really amazing to see just how rural that area was at the time. What’s even more interesting is seeing people lined along the road on both sides and in the median as far as the eye can see. There are some great action shots along with some stills of the boys checking their vehicles in, on ramps waiting to start and a set of John Finney awarding prizes to the winners. There are other photos from Dowling Chevrolet with the soap box racers being worked on in the garage bay that faces Woodland St. The images are pure Americana that is unmistakably 1950’s. They are a real delight to see and a complete surprise like many of our photo discoveries.

We have added them to the gallery site and are early in the research stage. So, as always, we are asking for your help in identifying people and helping us tell the story. Take a look online or come by and we’ll show them to you.