At the Union Historical Society’s Old Town House on Town House Road on Wednesday, Sept. 7 at 7:30 p.m., Stephen Thompson of Hallowell will give an illustrated presentation on Maine’s Lost Trotting Parks.

In the period of 1820 to 1892, and especially after the Civil War, the trotting horse industry flourished, and at one time there may have been 115 Maine towns with trotting parks. Union Fairground’s trotting track is one of the few which remain today. In his presentation, Thompson will discuss his research on the age of “When the Horse Was King” and give an overview of Maine’s Lost Trotting Parks, as well as the life and times of C.H. Nelson and his champion trotting stallion, Nelson 4209, beginning in the small town of Palermo and ending at Togus.

Stephen Thompson and his cousin Clark Thompson, both sons of Limestone potato farmers, have collaborated on many aspects of the research posted on the Lost Trotting Parks Blog. Clark authored the book, “Maine’s Trotting Horse Heritage Trail.” In April of 2009 Steve assisted Clark to gather additional information on the lost fairgrounds of the North Kennebec Agricultural and Horticultural Society. That fairground is now the back half of the Pine Grove cemetery in Waterville.

Stephen reports asking himself the question, “If this one became a graveyard, what happened to other tracks?” Just asking the question got him started on the path that led to the foundation in 2009 of his Lost Trotting Parks Heritage Center. A former career education consultant for the state of Maine, Thompson now enjoys exploring the era of when the horse was king, and recording stories, images and memorabilia of the harness racing industry which were becoming lost to memory.

After the meeting refreshments will be served by hostesses Debbie Hilt and Phyllis Parsons. All meetings of Union Historical Society are free and open to the public. Union Historical Society owns and maintains the Robbins House on Union Common, the Cobb’s Ledge historic site on Town House Road, and the Old Town House, also located on Town House Road and available to rent for functions. Membership is $5 per year. For more information, call 785-5444 and leave a message, or visit