YorksPast

Part of the USA Today Network

Two years after Mahlon Haines married Grace Churchill, they began planning to build a new estate, named Churchill Downs, located east of Hallam, along the Accomac Road. Via my Dad, I recalled hearing about plans for a climate-controlled horse barn attached to a large enclosed riding arena on that property, potentially an arena such as that shown in the photo.

Details about Mahlon Haines’ Churchill Downs near Hallam

Shortly after Mahlon Haines, of Shoe House fame, married Grace Churchill, they began planning to build a new estate, named Churchill Downs, located east of Hallam, along the Accomac Road. This post pinpoints the location of Churchill Downs, while indicating placement of planned structures and features.

When I initially wrote about Churchill Downs five years ago, I received several inquiries for the present Accomac Road address of where Churchill Downs was planned. Two individuals suggested in the area of Hatchery Road, although both admitted that was only a guess, since it was a relatively level area along Accomac Road.

A few days ago I heard from Cathy Keller. She provided some outstanding insight, allowing deeper research into the location and size of the planned Churchill Downs property. Quoting her comments to my original post:

“Churchill Downs was much more than a barn and riding arena. I started taking riding lessons from Lilian Roye in 1959. Lilian became very good friends with my mother. After Mr. Haines died [in 1962], Lilian was very disappointed Haines Arena would never happen, and shared with my mother some of conversations she had with Mr. and Mrs. Haines. From what Mom told me, it is my understanding part of the land for Churchill Downs was already purchased by the time of Mr. Haines passing. From that lot, a Manor House and English Gardens overlooked a neighboring big farm where public gardens, Haines Arena, barn, race track, etc. would be placed. That big farm is what Haines had not yet negotiated a purchase at the time of his death.”

Mahlon Haines first wife, June, died in 1951. In 1957, Haines’ second marriage was to Grace Marianne Churchill of London, England; whom he met on a cruise. She was 30-year younger than Haines and shared his interest in horses.

A deed search was made for the part of Churchill Downs that was already purchased by the time of Mr. Haines passing. Three adjoining tracts were purchased by Grace M. Haines between May 27, 1959 and May 31, 1960; containing 34.47, 15.35 and 19.98-acres; for a total of 69.8-acres at a purchase price of $14,222.

After Mahlon Haines passing on October 31, 1962, Grace Churchill Haines sold those 69.8-acres to Malleh Land Company on May 28, 1964, for $17,500; per Deed Book 56B, page 121. The metes and bounds of those 69.8-acres are outlined and shaded yellow on the following 1957 aerial photo. The most likely neighboring big farm, to the south side of Accomac Road is a 100-acre property outlined and shaded blue on the same annotated aerial photo.

This 1957 aerial photo pinpoints location of Churchill Downs. (October 9, 1957 Aerial photo; Annotated by S.H. Smith, 2023)

The following 1964 topographic map pinpoints location of Churchill Downs property, while also indicating the location of planned structures and features per insight provided by Cathy Keller. The topography shows the Manor House is at 200-feet elevation above Haines Arena, barn, and racetrack located nearer the Lincoln Highway. The racetrack is drawn as a 1/2-mile size track; which is the same size of the York Fairgrounds Track and the Haines Park track, which Mahlon Haines previously operated in the Yorkshire area from 1928 until 1953.

This 1964 topographic map pinpoints location of Churchill Downs, and indicates the features planned; but never built. (1964 Topographic Map; Annotated by S.H. Smith, 2023)

A 1976 York County PA Atlas & Plat Book provide owners of the “yellow” and “blue” sections of Churchill Downs at that time. The “yellow” shaded section, which Grace Churchill Haines sold to Malleh Land Company in 1964, was later sold to the principals of that company, Daniel M. Farr & Philip Meyerson in 1968. They sold the 69.8-acre property to Paul H. Dellinger and his wife Hannah C. Dellinger in 1973.

Allen A. Miller, and his wife Crissie E. Miller, owned the “blue” shaded 100-acre farm when Mahlon Haines was attempting to purchase it. The 1976 Atlas & Plat Book indicates their farm now covers 88.05-acres. That is because in August of 1969, 12-acres were taken via Eminent Domain by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to construct the 4-Lane Route 30 through their farm. If Mahlon Haines had lived to purchase the property, the 1/2-mile racetrack would have been taken in a like manner.

This 1976 atlas pinpoints location of Churchill Downs. (1976 York County PA Atlas & Plat Book, page 35; Annotated by S.H. Smith, 2023)

A 2019 Aerial photo via the York County Property Viewer shows where Haines’ 170-acre Churchill Downs would have been located in relationship to present properties. If built, the address to Haines’ Manor House would have been 253 Accomac Road.

This 2019 aerial photo pinpoints location of Churchill Downs. (2019 Aerial photo via York County Property Viewer; Annotated by S.H. Smith, 2023)

Haines widow, Grace Churchill Haines, took all of the completed plans for Churchill Downs along when she returned to England in the mid-1960s. Before her marriage to Mahlon Haines she worked in the offices of the British Institute of Builders, an organization founded in 1819 to set standards for the building industry. Grace Churchill Haines passed away during 1980 in West Yorkshire, England.

Links to related posts include:

Mahlon Haines’ Churchill Downs

Love Nest location Pinpointed

Lilian Roye international horsewoman in Springettsbury

Reading the Headlines: A Quick Index to All YorksPast Posts