Construction Photos

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A Marvel of Engineering

The Phoenix Trotting Park was truly a marvel of construction engineering. The massive building is 500 feet long (152.4 meters) by 195 feet wide (59.4 meters) by 86 feet tall (26.2 meters). The facility was constructed in 1964 and took less than a year to build. The rapid construction was possible due to the extensive use of pre-cast, post-tensioned concrete members that were assembled together like a giant three-dimensional puzzle. More than 3,000 pre-cast pieces were used in the project. The grandstand and race track sit on a huge 640 acre parcel of land.

Earth scraping machine
A tractor pulls an earth-scraping machine used to level the soil before construction. Source: unknown.
Water truck
A water tanker truck sprays water to help control dust. Source: unknown.
Casting Yard
A sunken concrete mold in which roof girders are made. Building the mold below ground required less formwork than if above ground, making for easier casting. Source: Construction Methods, October 1964.

Concrete form for constructing steel-reinforced hollow roof supports
This image shows a form built to create the triangular-shaped hollow beams, which both support the roof and serve as heating ducts to circulate hot air throughout the building. The reinforcing rods, using post-stress, here are strung on strong oil in paper sheaths which will be coated with the concrete. Source: Victor Gruen Associates.
Hollow roof beam
One of the finished hollow roof beams. Some of the structural members are 8x8 ft. by 114 ft. long. Source: Architecture West Magazine.
Y cradles in casting
These Y-cradles are built-up steel plate on precast concrete columns. They will support the V-girders for the roof. Source: Architecture West Magazine.

Spancrete floor supports
The spancrete hollow core floor slabs were fabricated in Phoenix, while all other structural members were cast on the site. The entire structure fits together like building blocks. Cables hold members in place during construction. The cantilever is an unprecedented 40 ft. Source: Architecture West Magazine.
Moving cantilever beams during construction
Unloading notched beams, destined to bear the stands. These girders, precast and post-stress using over 900 tons of tensile force, measure 34.50 meters in length and allow a cantilevered length over 15 meters. Source: Victor Gruen Associates.
Spancrete floor beams in place
Check out this amazing shot of the floor beams in place. They will support the Spancrete hollow-core floor slabs. Source: Victor Gruen Associates.

Construction of the grandstand with roof support columns in place
Here is another angle of the floor supports with that massive 40-ft. cantilever. The vertical support columns offer minimum interference of the view outside, with Y-cradles on top to support the roof beams. Source: Victor Gruen Associates.
The precasting process
Looking across the oval track, where contractor is precasting, to the concrete paddock buildings, also of precast members. Source: Architecture West Magazine.
Mounting and assembling the prefabricated elements
Mounting and assembling the prefabricated elements is like assembling a giant building block set. Source: Victor Gruen Associates.

Gantry crane lowering roof supports into place
This special rigging device is hoisting one of the 15 V-shaped concrete girders into place, 70 feet in the air. Each girder consists of two pieces: a 38-ft rear section and a 105-ft front section, which cantilevers 32 feet in front of the supporting column. The 105-ft girders are 8-ft wide and 8-ft tall and weigh 120 tons. Source: Construction Methods, October 1964.
Bridge crane erecting fascia beams
The same rig that lifted the roof girders into place has been relocated to lift a Z-shaped panel into place that will form the front fascia of the building. Source: Construction Methods, October 1964.
Roof Rigging Apparatus
Cecil Pelts, owner of Reliance Truck Co., designed this special rigging apparatus, which was built in his shop. It is shown here lifting a 39 ft long panel for the roof fascia 70 feet in the air. The panel weighs 95 tons. Source: Construction Methods, October 1964.

Corner detail of grandstand
Corner detail of grandstand. The structure rests on concrete cassions cast in place. Source: unknown.
Glass Installation
Workers shown installing 22,608 square feet of glass for the facade. It is designed to withstand 90 mph wind pressures. All glass is 3/8" in polished plate from PPG. Each panel is 11-ft. wide by 8-ft. high. Note truss system for glass support. Source: unknown.
Phoenix Trotting Park under construction in 1964
The Trotting Park under construction in 1964.
Photo by: Don Daniels of

Phoenix Trotting Park under construction in 1964
Phoenix Trotting Park during construction in 1964. Source: Architecture West Magazine.
Dump truck
Dump truck with Phoenix Trotting Park visible in the background. The exact date is not known but is estimated to be 1964. Source: unknown.