July 5, 1977: “Crazy Horse Race” Provides Unexpected Entertainment


By Margaret Leidy Harner from her book One Day at a Time: A Social History of Boyertown, PA.

July 5, 1977: The good citizens of Boyertown were treated to a breathtaking spectacle today. After leaving the Union House following a few drinks at the bar, horse dealer Jake Wallach and his friend George Sassaman decided to race “their two blooded mounts” north on Reading Avenue to New Berlinville. “Hardly had their breeches touched saddle leather” before they left the carriage yard and headed north.

As they dashed past the Castle Hall Cigar Factory at 1 East Philadelphia Avenue, astonished employees rushed to the windows to cheer the jockeys on. Editor Spatz called the two of them “insane idiots,” tearing along at “breakneck” speed and raising a “frightful dust” with total disregard for broken limbs, either their own or those of passers-by who had to scramble to safely or be mowed down. Mothers rushed to rescue their little Juniors from the fray.

Upon reaching the New Berlinville hotel with Wallach a half-length ahead, the two went inside for another “glass” for themselves and any villagers who had torn themselves loose from their chores for a few moments to join the celebration.

Townspeople gossiped about this “crazy horse race” for weeks afterward. In 1916 Wallach became the first person in Boyertown to own a Pierce Arrow automobile, paying the unheard of price of $6000, but no reports about Jake doing any auto racing.

More News from Boyertown
I'm interested
I disagree with this
This is unverified