The earliest Motor Dromes were designed
as more of a shallow tapered bowl than the straight up and down
14 foot board wall Drome that came along a little later. Here is
a photo of one of the earliest "Wall Of Death" Dromes taken in
the early 1900's.
Actually "Motor Dromes" and the name we've all come to associate
with the midway Motorcycle Drome Shows were first given to
wooden, half mile racetracks
designed for the race cars and motorcycles of that day. The
tires on the cars polished the wooden boards as smooth as glass
and the race courses became extremely dangerous especially when
they got wet. Board tracks proliferated in part because they
were inexpensive to construct, but they lacked durability and
required a great deal of maintenance to remain usable. Many of
the tracks survived for as little as three years before being
abandoned. Board track racing was gone by the 1920's, replaced
by asphalt or concrete race tracks which offered better traction
making them considerably safer for race cars and motorcycles
whose speeds were increasing.
Enjoy this short piece of film of early 1919 board track racing:
Board Track Racing.
Independent Showmens Museum