No. 526
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
June 21, 2021

The Bicycle Tournament at Springfield, Mass.

Perhaps the most successful bicycle tournament ever held in this country was that which opened at Sp
September 29, 2015
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"Louisville Courier-Journal," May 8, 1881, via Newspapers.comWhen I started this blog, I hoped to focus on the smaller, obscure stories from the past--the long-forgotten bits of random oddities that, when taken together, show just what a strange world we live in.  In short, the "uncommon" is really quite commonplace.One such story is the death of one otherwise completely unmemorable young man. 
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Strange Company - 6/21/2021

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An Ordnance to Cover the Defective Points.Denver Tribune-RepublicanMay 14, 1885(Click image to enlarge)   n order to cover such cases as "Soapy" Smith, the arrest of whom for violating the lottery ordinance"  Note how bad the Xerox copy at the top is. This was shared to my father, by his brother (my uncle) Joseph Jefferson Smith​ (1909-1977). Obviously, the copiers at the time did not do
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 6/13/2021

When railroad baron H.H. Cook decided to build himself a New York City mansion, he didn’t try to squeeze into a plot of land on Fifth Avenue in the 50s—an area that had been colonized by several Vanderbilt heirs and other Gilded Age moneymakers. Instead, he went to the then-hinterlands of Manhattan, purchasing the entire […]
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Ephemeral New York - 6/20/2021
Youth With Executioner by Nuremberg native Albrecht Dürer … although it’s dated to 1493, which was during a period of several years when Dürer worked abroad. November 13 [1617]. Burnt alive here a miller of Manberna, who however was lately engaged as a carrier of wine, because he and his brother, with the help of […]
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Parental hostility drove Fanny Madison out of her home and into the arms of her cousin, Thomas Cluverius. It was not a wise decision.Read the full story here: Kissing Cousins.                                             Pictures from Illustrated Police News, May 2, 1885.
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Murder By Gaslight - 6/19/2021

Producer-director Ric Rebelo has today, in memory of LeeAnn Wilber, former co-owner of the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast, released this award-winning film for public view on Youtube. This was filmed in 2010, some of the participants in the production are no longer with us today. What was recorded in 2010 has not changed much today in 2021, only intensified in fascination.
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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 6/16/2021
[Editor’s note: Guest writer, Peter Dickson, lives in West Sussex, England and has been working with microfilm copies of The Duncan Campbell Papers from the State Library of NSW, Sydney, Australia. The following are some of his analyses of what he has discovered from reading these papers. Dickson has contributed many transcriptions to the Jamaica Family […]
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Another Amorous Parson. | Collecting Beer Money.

The Bicycle Tournament at Springfield, Mass.

Ladies on Tricycles

One Mile No Hands

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Perhaps the most successful bicycle tournament ever held in this country was that which opened at Springfield, Mass., on Tuesday, September 18th, and continued for three days. Over one hundred clubs were represented, and there were besides two hundred unattached riders, among whom were a number of famous English experts, besides one from Australia and another from Japan. The exhibition included bicycles of all shapes and sizes, tricycles, and almost everything pertaining to wheelmen and their steeds. The street parade, on Wednesday, in which six hundred participated, displayed nearly every kind of bicycle known, and one of its most attractive features was the appearance of about twenty women tricyclists. The prizes offered aggregated $6,000 in value, including a $1,000 cup, and a gold medal studded with diamonds. The races took place in Hampden Park, upon the upper end of which many of the visiting wheelmen were quartered in hundreds of tents. The races were the best ever ridden in this country, and the records were beaten in a number of instances. The tournament attracted great crowds and as the weather was perfect every day, it proved an entire success.


Reprinted from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, September 28, 1883.