Zion Crossroads Dirt Track Racing

img606In the early 1950s Ed Roseberry was on site for some racing at a dirt track near Zion Crossroads, VA, a few miles east of Charlottesville.

Roseberry was experimenting with color film which was not in widespread use at the time. Ed recalls that color film was expensive and you needed bright daylight to expose it. Additionally, many of his color negatives have not held up over time, discoloring with age.  Remarkably, a group of negatives that C’ville Images recently discovered and scanned from deep in the Roseberry archives, are fairly well-preserved. Below is a selection of these photographs. For a fun soundtrack to accompany the pics, try this song.img019 img013 The color images Roseberry got at the track took adept handling of the camera equipment, and as you will see below, no small amount of daring from the photographer.

img015 img017 img014The track was built by J. G. Pugh who, according to his son Ken, also built a drive-in movie theater near Cismont. The track was first called Hilltop Speedway and later named Central Virginia Raceway.  It operated from the late 1940s through at least the early 1950s, possibly later.

img875This last Roseberry photo from the same period shows a night time scene where the car drivers are performing daring stunts to entertain the spectators in the trackside bleachers.

Zion Xroads Dirt Track GoogleThe race track is long gone and the property is wooded and private. This satellite image (Google Earth) reveals the ghost of the old dirt track. Still visible is the oval track where stock car racing was a regular happening (and Roseberry was there to document it) over 60 years ago.

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