Soap box races similar to the pictured above began in the early 1900s to mimic the first automobile races. They became very popular in the 1930s once the official Soap Box Derby was established in Ohio and spread across the country. The sport continued to grow until its peak sometime around the 1950s or ‘60s.
This and hundreds of other wonderful images can be found in the Gaston Gazette's new pictorial history book, "Gaston County Memories: The Early Years." The perfect gift for any long time Gaston County resident, the book ships soon but is still on pre-sale for a whopping $15 off the retail price-- $29.95 instead of $44.95!
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Preview more images here.