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New York in New York County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

From Baseball to Houdini

Gotham Inn

 

— 298 Bowery —

 
From Baseball to Houdini Marker image. Click for full size.
By Larry Gertner, July 15, 2016
1. From Baseball to Houdini Marker
Inscription.  The early history of baseball is closely associated with this site, once occupied by the Gotham Inn, an 18th century farmhouse-turned-tavern that by the mid-1800s headquartered the Gotham Base Ball Club. According to baseball historian John Thorn, the Gothams – who formed in 1837 – were America’s first organized baseball team and the first to write down the rules of the game. The first conventions for the National Association for Base Ball Players were held here in 1857-1858, later moving up the street to Cooper Union when it grew bigger. The Association’s rules committee met here as late as 1865.

From 1879 to 1898, this current 4-story structure was a popular “dime museum.” With cheaply priced exhibits and stage shows typical of such venues, the Globe Dime Museum featured giant snakes, magicians and curiosities like “Trimuta, the Three-Headed Songstress.”

It hosted future film comedian W.C. Fields’ first NYC appearances and the premiere of vaudeville comic due Weber & Fields’ famous “Dutch” routine as German immigrants.

In 1894, the Globe also saw the first solo performance
298 Bowery image. Click for full size.
By Larry Gertner, July 15, 2016
2. 298 Bowery
of a Hungarian rabbi’s son who would gain worldwide fame for death-defying feats and illusions – the “Great" Harry Houdini.

-David Freeland (author Automats, Taxi Dances & Vaudeville and David Mulkins (Historian/Educator)
 
Erected 2016 by Bowery Alliance of Neighbors.
 
Location. 40° 43.474′ N, 73° 59.56′ W. Marker is in New York, New York, in New York County. Marker is on Bowery near E Houston Street, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 298 Bowery, New York NY 10012, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. NYC’s Oldest Thoroughfare (a few steps from this marker); 21st Century Fashion In A 21st Century House (within shouting distance of this marker); Liz Christie Garden (within shouting distance of this marker); McGurk’s Suicide Hall (within shouting distance of this marker); Hats, Hardware & Horses (within shouting distance of this marker); CBGB (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Alexander’s Musee (about 300 feet away); World’s Smallest Opera House (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New York.
 
Regarding From Baseball to Houdini. One of more than sixty entries in the “Windows on the Bowery” series.
 
Categories.
Inset image. Click for full size.
By Larry Gertner, July 15, 2016
3. Inset
Gotham Inn & Bowling Saloon, circa 1850
EntertainmentSports
 
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By Larry Gertner, July 15, 2016
4. Inset
Renamed Gotham Cottage by time of ball club conventions. Demolished 1878
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By Larry Gertner, July 15, 2016
5. Inset
Gothams Base Ball team, 1855
Inset image. Click for full size.
By Larry Gertner, July 15, 2016
6. Inset
William Rufus Wheaton (1814-1888) is believed to have written down the rules of baseball for the Gothams in 1837, years before writing similar rules for the Knickerbockers.
Inset image. Click for full size.
By Larry Gertner, July 15, 2016
7. Inset
Globe Museum ticket to "Prof. Houdini"
Inset image. Click for full size.
By Larry Gertner, July 15, 2016
8. Inset
Harry Houdini (1874-1926)
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By Larry Gertner, July 15, 2016
9. Inset
W.C. Fields recalled: “It seemed that I did my act every five minutes, all through the day and half the night…there was an advantage in performing 20 times a day, for that gave me 20 different audiences.”
 

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Credits. This page was last revised on July 30, 2019. This page originally submitted on July 10, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. This page has been viewed 53 times since then. Last updated on July 16, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on July 10, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.   7, 8, 9. submitted on July 11, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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