Churchill Downs Racetrack Relic Wood Gavel
Louisville, Kentucky: 1963
Relic wood with original paper label
9.75 x 4 x 1.75 inches, overall
Relic gavel made in 1963 from wood salvaged from contemporaneous renovations to Churchill Downs Racetrack, home of the Kentucky Derby in Louisville. The track and original building — dating back to 1895 — was under extensive renovation and reconstruction from about 1959 to 1966. The gavel is of simple form in a light-colored wood and has an original printed authentication paper tag attached with four small nails to the head: “Made from wood, Original Building, Churchill Downs, Louisville, Ky. 1963.” In 2021, Churchill Downs announced three capital improvement projects over the next three years, including two totaling $135 million, for the home of the Kentucky Derby.
A cardboard gift tag is attached to the gavel from “Diversion, the monthly publication of quality” in Louisville with the company’s address and phone number. On one side is a humorous black-and-white photograph of Diversion’s publisher, E.P. White, Jr., dressed in a suit and bowtie, sitting in a bathtub. On the other side of the tag is handwritten “My Compliments.”
Condition: Gavel very good with light wear. Paper label very good with light toning, wear handling. Gift label a bit creased and worn at string hole, but still quite intact.
“The History of Churchill Downs.” Churchill Downs. 2022. https://www.churchilldowns.com/visit/about/churchill-downs/history/ (3 January 2022).