American Trotter Trail

About the Trail


  • Approximately 1/2 mile long
  • 8′ wide paved path
  • Benches & trash receptacles
  • Lighting (as donations come in)
  • Open to the public
  • Connects with Liberty Trail to make 2 mile loop
  • Historical points of interest
  • Outdoor educational features
  • Connects District’s East/West Elementary campus with Jr./Sr. High School campus

american-trotter-trail-bench-new american-trotter-trail-trash-receptacle-new

The Name

For a few years in the late 1880s and early 1890s, Independence was a nationally-known horse-racing center, and was sometimes referred to as the “Lexington of the North”. This came about as a result of the meteoric financial success of Charles W. Williams. A telegraph operator and creamery owner from nearby Jesup, Iowa, Williams (with no experience in breeding horses) purchased in 1885 two mares, each of which within a year gave birth to a stallion. These two stallions, which Williams named Allerton and Axtell, went on to set world trotting records, with the result that Williams’ earnings enabled him to publish a racing newspaper titled The American Trotter, to build a large three-story hotel and opera house called The Gedney, and to construct a figure-eight shaped race track on the west edge of town, on a large section of land called Rush Park, where he also built a magnificent horse barn, his family mansion, and peripheral structures.

Today, the primary location of Williams’ race track (which was the original site of the Buchanan County Fairgrounds) is owned by the school district. The trail intersects the original site of the Williams’ race track.

brochure-iconDownload an American Trotter Trail project flyer

order-iconClick here for an order form!

brochure-iconClick here for map of available locations!

Donation Options

Option 1: Bench located at West Elementary


  • 6′ steel bench
  • Memorial or donor plaque to be placed on the bench at West Elementary
Remaining Quantity Available: 1
Cost: $1,500

Option 2: Bench located at the tennis courts


  • 6′ steel bench
  • Memorial or donor plaque to be placed on the bench at the tennis courts
Remaining Quantity Available: 6
Cot: $1,500

Option 3: Bench located in front of Jr./Sr. High School


  • 6′ steel bench
  • Memorial or donor plaque to be placed on the bench in front of the Jr./Sr. High School
Remaining Quantity Available: 5
Cot: $1,500