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The Battle On Broadway Hill: When The Soap Box Derby Came To Ann Arbor

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In 1936 the Ann Arbor Daily News and Chevrolet brought the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/29211|Soap Box Derby] to Ann Arbor, promoting the race with [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19360615-daily_news_to_have_pg1|page one stories], plenty of [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N026_0815_002|pictures] of local boys and [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19360703-soap_box_ad_pg5|display ads] meant to entice every boy in the county to enter the Derby. [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19360721-officials_named_pg3%201|Officials] were appointed, the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19360618-entry_list_pg1|rules explained] and the "long, smooth and straight" [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19360625-broadway_is_chosen_pg1|Broadway Hill] named as the site of the race. The [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N026_0818_001|lead-up] to the race gave News photographers plenty of display space for their [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N026_0820_001|pictures] of local hopefuls [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N026_0817_006|building] and [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N026_0817_007|testing] their cars. More than [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19360723-john_mayfield_pg1|6,000 fans] watched [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N026_0816_001|John Mayfield] win the inaugural Battle on Broadway Hill. In 1937, the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19370527-second_annual_soap_box_pg1|page one story] promoting the Soap Box Derby was bigger, the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19370721-they_all_pg3|coverage more extensive] and the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19370715-many_prizes_p3|prizes] offered by local merchants really cool. The Chief of Police talked [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19370723-derby_fans_pg5|crowd control] as race day on Broadway Hill approached. [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19370726-merlin_hahn_pg1|Controversy] over his residency did not stop Merlin Hahn from [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19370726-soap_boxers_pg3|winning] the 1937 crown. Although there was plenty of interest by [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N026_0821_001|young girls in the race], the [http://www.aasbd.org/about-us/history.aspx|Soap Box Derby] did not allow girls to compete until 1971. Enjoy the articles and pictures and, if you can, help us solve the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N026_0814_002|mystery]: who is [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N026_0814_001|Babs?]

Update! Turns out "Babs" is the name of the car piloted by 1938 Soap Box Derby winner Lynn Smith and he named the winning car after his sister, [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N026_0814_002|Babs Smith.] In an interview granted to the News after his victory, [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19380725-lynn_smith_saline_wins_soap_box_derby_pg1|Lynn tells all.]