Ellis Park was built by the Green River Jockey Club in 1922. The race track was first named after the famous race starter A. B. Barrett Dade, a director and one of the organizers of the Green River Jockey Club. In 1925 James C. Ellis purchased the track.

Note that the name of the track wasn’t changed until 1954, nearly 30 years after James Ellis bought it.

Evansville Press Sports Editor Dick Anderson wrote on Aug, 11, 1954, “Bowing to popular demand, a demand spear-headed by Earl Ruby, a sports editor from Louisville, James C. Ellis, the owner of Dade Park, will officially change the name of Dade Park after the completion of the running of the 31st meeting.

“On Tuesday, Sept. 7, it will become James C. Ellis Park in honor of the Kentucky gentleman who bought the park and the grounds and the buildings at a receiver’s sale a generation ago and then slowly but surely built it into a going concern under the name of Dade Park …”

Anderson conjectured that it might take awhile for race and sports fans – and James Ellis himself – to accept and adopt the name change.

“If and when the new name is accepted it probably will be shortened to Ellis Park,” he wrote presciently. Anderson, for one, was willing to accept the name change. He concluded his column: “Ellis Park instead of Dade Park? So be it.”


Evansville Press Aug, 11, 1954

A Pictorial History Of Henderson And Henderson County, Kentucky, Volumes I & II Published by Gleaner-Journal Publishing

Chuck Stinnett