Long Distance Racing
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Glenfield Lofts The Harry Elston Strain of Trentons Submitted by Ronald P. Goebel
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I am in possession of some of the original material that Harry Elston " Glenfield Lofts"
sent out to the racing fancy, in which he claims that the Glenfield Loft is the most
outstanding Loft in "the world" at long distance racing over a straight ten year period,
and that his records were never equalled in the history of racing pigeons.This was never
refuted by any one to my knowledge. After reading his records, I must agree, Harry
Elston was the Master of Long Distance Racing Supreme. Harry was born in England
about 1880, and came to America, settling in Glenfield Pa. a small community just west
of Pittsburgh, right along the banks of the Ohio River. His home sat up on a high bluff,
and one could see his racing loft as one passed below along the road. He flew birds
from the 1920's up until his death in 1960. He flew in the Pgh Center, at that time one
of the largest in the U.S.A. with almost 700 members. He flew about 12 miles short of
every other flyer, and he never p ooled his birds, so his wins were tolerated to some
extent. He made his money selling birds, one year, according to a letter he sent to a
costumer, selling 345 young birds.
Harry was widely critized as being a mob flyer. At the urging of his wife to reduce the
number of his old birds, he sent 52 birds to a 500 mile race, and received 52 day birds.
As the years went by, the Pgh Concourse established a 10 mile boundary, and Harry
was shut out in the cold, with just his local club, the Ambridge Homing Club. He served
here as the President of the club, and in his later years in his 80's didnt fly too well.
Harry said that his birds were all 75 % Trenton, and they being bred close for 25 years
before he received them. Harry crossed in Toft's, Osman, Barker, Grooter and Sion, all
being bred about the same, 75% Trenton. He received these birds from Harry Slaney
Let us look at some of his long distance flying records.
He set the world record in 1934 for 1320 miles with "Denver KIng" flying from Denver
Col. to Pgh. Pa. in 4 days, 11 hours. Here is the flying record of Denver King
1933 1030 mi.6th 1320 mi.-1st
1934 1030 mi. -2nd 1320 mi -1st- world record
1935 1030 mi -6th
1936 1030 mi. -6th 1320 mi. -8th
Arrived home with one eye closed, the other partially closed from flying thru a dust
storm in the mid west.
His mate was "Grizzelda" booted hen. She won 5 first's and 2 second's, including
including 3 first Concourse races at 500 miles. Where did the "boots" come from? I
have in my possession a 1912 advertisement from E. Phillips & W. Spence. One hen
offered for sale is 73 "open band" slate check, bred by Fred Wilson out of F5202 &
T21589, both bred from Trenton & Brighteye. She has feather legs. (boots) Many of my
Elston Trentons have the booted legs yet today. Bill Capuano who flys in Northfield, Ct.
recently told me that his Trentons throw the "boots" frills, and also caps.
All races open to the entire Pgh. Center
1931 1030 miles 5th-6th-16th 3 birds entered
1932 1030 miles 1st-2nd-4th-8th-9th-12th 6 birds entered.
1932 1320 miles 1st-2nd-3rd-7th -temp of 112 degrees in the west. 4 birds entered.
1932 500 miles 1st only day bird-young bird race- bird was 4 months and 5 days
old! this bird was clocked in complete darkness.
1933 1030 miles 2nd-3rd-4th-5th-7th-8th-11th-12th entered 10 birds all made it home, 8 in race time.
1933 1030 miles 1st-2nd-4th-7th-9th-10th-11th-12th entered 12 birds, 11 home, 8
in race time.
1933 1030 miles 2nd-4th-5th three birds entered with three days rest from previous
1933 1320 miles 1st-3rd-4th-5th-6th-7th-8th-9th 10 birds shipped, all home 8 in
1934 500 miles 1st diploma in 8 regular 500 mile races, and two 1st Pgh concourse
500 mile races. (total 10 )
1934 1030 miles 1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th-6th-7th-8th-9th=10th-11th-12th13th-14th-
15th-16th 16 shipped 15 home in race time
1934 1030 miles 2nd-3rd-4th-8th 4 birds entered.
1934 1320 miles 1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th-6th-7th 8 birds entered 7 home in race time.
Denver King won this race beating previous Pgh record by 2 days. One week later he
flew 600 miles, he homed in a heavy rain at 2;45 the 2nd day, winner clocked at 2:30,
no day birds, 7 on the second day, a smash race.
1935 1030 miles 1st-2nd-5th-6th-7th-8th-9th-10th-11th-12th 9 birds shipped 9
home in race time.
1935 600 miles 2nd-- shipped 5 young birds all home in good time.
1935 300 mile 1st-2nd yearling race
1935 500 miles 1st-2nd- won by 25 minutes.
1935 500 mile 7th concourse race
1935 500 miles 1st-2nd-5th only five day birds.
1935 500 miles 2nd-5th winner bred by Elston
1935 600 miles 10th second day, no day birds--concourse race
1935 500 miles 2nd-5th-6th-13th-14th five birds shipped
1936 1030 miles 2nd-4th-6th-7th-8th- 11th-13th-20th-25th shipped 9 all home in
race time. lost by 2 hours
1936 1320 miles 1st-2nd-3rd-4th-6th-7th-8th ---shipped 8 -7 all home in race time.
1937 distance races were canceled in Pgh Concourse
1937 1030 miles 2nd-3rd Elston didnt know about the race, until 2 days before it, no
birds trained-shipped 2.
1938 1030 miles 1st-2nd 2 birds shipped.
1938 1030 miles 3rd- entered the same two birds from the previous race. rained
four days, 3 birds home in race time, only five birds home since. complete smash race.
1939 1030 miles 5th
1940 1030 miles 1st-3rd won by over 5 hours.
1943 210 miles 1st-2nd -winning by 135 y.p.m.-speed 851, time on the wing 7
hours12 minute. 3,816 young birds in the race. This bird was "Eastern Star" and went
on to win 8th- 500mi. 231 lofts 2 firsts 500 mi.concourse races--3 firsts Pgh
Championship 500 mi races--1 second 500 mi.
From 1930 to 1935, Elston won the long distance championship, in the Pgh Center with 700 members, including the 1030 and 1320 mile races, and five 500 mile open races in five weeks straight.
Elston won 1st diploma in fifteen 500 mile races in four years and many 2nd's and
Harry Elston won the long distance championship of the world at 500, 1030, & 1320
for five years straight.
Harry Elston won a 1020 mile ace, flying 2 days, 5 hours, 31 hours of day light.
Harry Elston won the 1020 mile race five years straight.
Harry Elston won the 1320 mile race four years straight.
Harry Elston homed 8 out 10 in the Pgh concourse 500 mile young bird race homing
5 in the first hour.
Harry Elston was never beaten from Denver Colorado.
Harry Elston won ten 1030 mile races.
Harry Elston won 27 diplomas from 1030-1320mi. in1933,77 diplomas from 1030 in
the 10 years the races were scheduled.
Harry Elston won 13 -500 mile club races in 3 series.
Harry Elston won ten 500 mile races in1934, including all concourse 500 mile races
Harry Elston won 29 diplomas from 1320 miles in the four years the races were
scheduled, four firsts.
In 1934 Elston had 35 birds in his loft that flew 1020 or 1320 miles.
In a letter Elston told a fancier who had lost a bird that he had purchased from him"
you may have been feeding a four grain feed, I never did use it" so what did Elston
feed, corn and barley? we'll never know the answer to that one.
After his death in 1960, Elstons widow, with the assistance of an unknown young man,
began to dispose of the birds. In 1990, I had a phone converstion with Robert Beaton
who lives in Ohio. In the late 1950's Bob visited Elston every weekend. He purchased a
bird out of Denver King and Grizzelda for $300. Also 39 other birds from Elston's loft.
The few Elstons Beaton had at that time (1990) were down from him. He crossed in Joe
Arden Barkers as Harry had done, but has not had much success with them. Frank
Mihalick of "Buckeye Lofts" received some Elstons from the Beaton Brothers and flew
them with some success. He had the booted Grizzles. Frank has since passed away, and
his barn and loft, burned to the ground. I also talked to John Feola, now deceased, of
Hopewell, Pa. He and Andy Lapada went up to Elstons loft after his death and bought
12 pair of the Grizzles. The widow Elston asked him if he wanted Harry's "Master Book"
and diplomas, but he declined to take them, now lost forever. Andy passed his Grizzles
on to Buckeye Loft. I received four Grizzles from John before he passed on. I also
received 6 birds from Harold Ammon of Arkansas. He bought 8 birds from Elston in
1951, some of which were down from Silver King. He had won a two 1st's -4th-8th
from 1320 miles & 5th-6th-8th from 1030 miles in a four year period. Ammon only
added in a yellow Trenton from Art Nemechek. Harold said the birds didnt mature fast,
and you couldn't fly the distance until they were 2 year olds. He told me he would take
the birds out to 30 miles, many times, then gradually release them later and later until
they could not possibly home in the daylight. That way, he would get 500 mile day
birds instead of very early 2nd day birds. Harold passed on to that House Not Made
with Hands in 1990. Around 1994 I also received a booted black w.f. cock from Floyd
Deiner of Fond Du Lac Mich, who at that time was 75. He had purchased birds fom
Elston in the 1950's and his birds all had to fly 600 miles to earn a perch in the loft.
Finally, I received a pair of Grizzles from James Meleckor. He has many Trentons down
from Art Nemechek. These Grizzles are pedigreed back to a hen, 1284 au 55, that Art
purchased from Elston. Jim also gave me some of his Nemechek Trentons, and he stills
flys the birds today. My first race was in 1951, at the age of 15. but now I have not
flown for 12 years, being 75, just the feeding and loft maintenance is enough work for
me. I enjoy the breeding, as the birds throw many colors, including Almonds, yellows
and Grizzles, along with the normal reds and blues. I have maybe 100 birds own from
Elstons, and may possibly be one of the last lofts to carry on this long distance family of
Trentons, and raise just a few birds every year.
Here is the flying record of a few more of Harry Elston's birds.
Black-un 1030 miles--1st-7th-8th-9th10th-16th--------1320 miles-3rd-8th
Red Boy 1030 miles --1st-2nd-5th-7th-------------------1320 miles-2nd-6th-6th
Red Raven 1030 miles--2nd-2nd-3rd-6th-13th--------1320 miles-2nd-3rd-4th
Blue binge 1030 miles--9th --------------------------------1320 miles-4th
Night Hawk 1030 miles-5th-----------------------------------1320 miles-5th
Rags 1030 miles-2nd-9th-------------------------------------1320 miles-3rd
Lady Skiles 1030 miles- 2nd-15th- 2more times no dip.---1320 one time, no dip
Black Prince 3- 1030-1st-2nd
Arthur 1030 miles2nd-3rd-5th-------------------------------1320 miles 7th
Master skiles 1030 miles 2nd-3rd-3rd-4th-5th-6th-7th-8th-------1320 miles-2nd-5th-7th
Glenfield Kid 1030 miles-2nd-4th-5th-8th
True blue 1030 miles 1st-4th-4th-5th
Ronald P. Goebel
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