Clearfield, PA
Otocsin and the Otocsin Invitational Sports Car Races, 1964 ~
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A little while back Jack Woolridge dropped off a program from the Otocsin Invitational Sports Car Races
that were held at the then Du Bois-Jefferson County Airport on August 15 & 16, 1964.

Before I get into the details of that race weekend I'm going to explain the name "Otocsin", with much of
the information courtesy of ""  Having seen the German Autobahn during WW II
and no stranger to the difficulties of large troop movements, President Eisenhower in 1956 was instrumental
in establishing the Interstate Highway System that we take for granted today. Interstate 80 - nicknamed
"the Keystone Shortway" here ~ was the portion of that system planned to traverse the Northern part of
Pennsylvania. In it's 300-plus miles, the only place the Shortway would pass through state-owned land was
to be in Clearfield County, particularly at S.B. Elliott State Park. Seeing an opportunity to take advantage of
the new-found visiblility for our area and banking on the location being roughly halfway between New York
City and Cleveland, a plan was hatched to enlarge the Du Bois municipal water reservoir into a six-mile long
lake that would stretch nearly to Elliott Park, complete with resort hotels, ski runs, golf courses and all of the
amenities and to be named "Otocsin." Apparently the planners were psychic in knowing that Penn State
would years later name one of their facilities "Scanticon" and didn't want to be left out of the awful name
I'm guessing they thought "Otocsin" sounded vaguely American-Indian enough; all I can think of is that it rhymes with "toxin". )

But something that those same planners didn't think of was that the folks in Du Bois would take exception
to potentially losing their safe drinking water and that the property owners and farmers in the Home Camp
area wouldn't be crazy about their homes being submerged. In the face of vigorous opposition from the City
of Du Bois, landowners and conservationists, Otocsin was never to be. The idea was still alive enough in
1964 though for the race organizers to latch onto the name for whatever perceived cachet it still had.
( Google
MAP showing the Du Bois Reservoir in relation to Elliott Park. )

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Auto Racing has long been a
staple of the Bedford Fair and continues to the present day.
1964 was no exception.

"Indianapolis Type Car", though,
may require a grain of salt.
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The Progress, July 11, 1964 ~
The Progress, August 14, 1964 ~
The Progress, August 14, 1964 ~
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Otocsin Race Program, August 15 & 16, 1964 ~
As soon as Jack and I started looking carefully at the program,
which neither of us had done for over fifty years, we saw that
it listed Sandra M. Kurtz among the race officials.  We both
remembered that her husband, Charles T Kurtz III, had died in
a highway accident sometime that same summer, but neither
of us was sure just when. It was only when I started looking at
old newspaper articles that I came to recall that Charlie's fatal
accident had occurred just a little over two weeks prior to race
weekend, on July 28th.
Pre-race articles from the (Lock Haven) Express (l, 8/7/64 ),   >
and the (Franklin) News-Herald (8/8/64) both refer to the
tragic passing of race co-chair Charles T. Kurtz III and
that the races would be dedicated to his memory
I will be posting a page here sometime in the near future featuring highlights of Charlie's racing career.
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        The Progress Postscript, August 15, 1964 ~

Front Cover, Left

        Feature Articles Inside by Sandra Mayes Kurtz, below

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The Progress, Post Race Pictures, August 21 & 22, 1964 ~
Click any picture to enlarge
( Google MAP of present-day
   Du Bois Regional Airport )
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The Races ~
Listed among the race officials in the program is "L. William Argetsinger, Flag & Communications Director." Those familiar
with Sports Car racing of the era first associate the name "Argetsinger" with J. Cameron "Cam" Argetsinger who will always
be remembered most as the founder and driving force behind the establishment of racing in Watkins Glen NY following WW II.
Given that the surname Argetsinger is not especially common I'd guess that L. William was related to Cam in some fashion
but in reading Cam's profile and obituary online I can't make a connection. Cam had nine children, none with a name starting with an "L", no "William" nor did he have a brother Bill. Maybe a cousin? Let me know if you have the answer.
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The Progress, Post Race Article, August 17, 1964 ~
From the "goDuBois" article: "The City of Du Bois was the last community along
I-80 in Pennsylvania to come to terms with the State Highway Department, and
the Du Bois Region was the last portion of I-80 to be opened (August 26, 1970).
Without the Du Bois Reservoir, the Otocsin Project was unable to secure
private and public financing."
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