Although the 75th running of the Little Brown Jug will be run today with little fanfare as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the race’s importance to the community is not wavering. On Saturday, the race was immortalized at the Delaware County Fairgrounds with the honorary establishment of Pennsylvania Avenue as “Little Brown Jug Way” between Troy Road and North Sandusky Street.
Councilman Chris Jones, who represents Delaware’s First Ward, first initiated the honorary designation during a city council meeting in July. In his letter to City Manager Tom Homan ahead of the meeting, Jones said, “To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Little Brown Jug, I would like the city to consider the honorary renaming of Pennsylvania Avenue from Troy Road to Sandusky Street to ‘Little Brown Jug Way.’ Since 1946, this event has been a significant part of our history that has been enjoyed by many and will continue to be a part of the lives for generations to come.”
Little Brown Jug Way joins Rutherford B. Hayes Way (William Street), Elmer W.B. Curry Way (London Road), Branch Rickey Way (Henry Street), and Pacer Way (Euclid Avenue) as honorary street designations within the city. The newly-honored street isn’t the first to celebrate the Little Brown Jug, however. Many streets on the west side are named after various aspects of harness racing, including past winners, trainers, and the sport itself. One of those streets — Curly Smart Boulevard —is set to get an extension as part of the second phase of the Springer Woods development, which is currently before council. Keeping with the harness racing theme, Curly Smart Boulevard intersects with Grand Circuit Boulevard.
Some of the other street names in Delaware tied to harness racing or the Little Brown Jug include Hanover Court, Lachance Court, Trotter’s Circle, Paddock Court, Castleton Way, Knight Dream Street, Keystoner Way, Western Dreamer Drive, Tar Heel Drive, Seatrain Drive, Overtrick Drive, Jaguar Spur Avenue, Barberry Spur Avenue and Niatross Place.
Lee Yoakum, community affairs coordinator for the city, said streets began being named with Little Brown Jug references beginning in the 1990s as subdivisions on the west side began to spring up.
Asked why it was important to him to recommend the honorary street naming, Jones told The Gazette that with everything the race brings to the community, it deserves to be further honored.
“After speaking with various members of the fair board, I was proud to recommend this honor for the Little Brown Jug,” Jones said. “Every September, the race brings notoriety and fanfare to Delaware, and I, with the support of my colleagues on city council, felt it was fitting to recognize this great sporting event forever on ‘Little Brown Jug Way.’”