Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Ladies' Day on Travers Island in the 19th Century

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The New York Athletic Club opened Travers Island to club members for inspection of the new clubhouse on June 8, 1889. See Travers Island, N.Y. Times, Jun. 9, 1889, p. 3 ("The new Summer home of the New-York Athletic Club on Travers Island, near Pelham Manor, on the Sound, was opened yesterday for inspection by the members and their friends."). Soon the NYAC moved its annual "Ladies Day" festivities to the new summer home.

Post Card View of Original NYAC Clubhouse Opened in 1889, Later Destroyed by Fire

There is an excellent account of the 1890 Ladies Day held at Travers Island that was published in The New York Times. It provides an excellent overview of the wide variety of events held during such gatherings as well as an interesting record of the competition on that day nearly 115 years ago. Today's blog posting will reproduce that account in its entirety:



If the gods who control the elements had been bribed they could not have given the New-York Athletic Club more perfect weather for their forty-fourth annual ladies' day games than was enjoyed by fully 5,000 people at Travers Island, Pelham Manor, yesterday. A more ideal day's outing can scarcely be imagined. Every arrangement and detail left in the hands of the various committees on reception, entertainment, &c, was carried out to perfection.

The affair was the most successful and at the same time the most fashionable ever given by the New-York Athletic Cloub.

Among the small army of people entertained was a great number of women prominent in society and men conspicuous for their success in business and the professions. Special trains were run both ways and there was an abundance of stages to take the people to and from the island.

Many came early in the morning and staid [sic] late to enjoy dancing and a supper. While the social side of the affair was such a success, however, the games were rather weak. The starters did not exceed one-fifth of the entries. The prizes were medals, gold, silver and bronze, for first, second, and third men respectively.

The only record breaking was with the shot and hammer. George R. Gray of the New-York Athletic Club put the fourteen-pound shot 47 feet 7 7/8 inches. H. L. Lambrecht's record is 46 feet 3 3/4 inches. He put the sixteen-pound shot 46 feet, beating th record (his own) of 45 feet 2 inches. The eighteen-pound shot for which there is no record, he put 41 feet 9 1/2 inches. The twenty-one-pound shot he put 38 feet 8 5/8 inches, breaking the record made by Quackberner of 35 feet 10 inches. W. L. Condon of the New-York Athletic Club knocked the fifteen-pound hammer record of 107 feet 7 inches, held by himself into a cocked hat by throwing 123 feet 6 3/4 inches. Many doubted the accuracy of the measurement, but the record was undoubtedly broken by many feet.

The games were without accident, except to C. H. Sherrill, Yale's sprinter, who sprained the tendon that has long been troubling him, in the 100-yard dash. He fell and had to be carried from the field. Following is the summary of the games:

600-YARD RUN. -- Three starters. Won by J. S. Roddy, Manhattan Athletic Club and Princeton College, second. Second heat won by T. I. Lee, New-York Athletic Club; time, 0:10 3-5; L. H. Carey, Manhattan Athletic Club, second. Final won by L. H. Carey; time, 0:10 1-5; T. I. Lee, second.

120-YARD HURDLE RACE. -- Five starters. F. C. Puffer, New-Jersey Athletic Club, and George Schwegler, New-York Athletic Club, drew a bye. Heat won by H. L. Williams, New-York Athletic Club and Yale College, time, 0:17 3-5; E. Lentilhon, New-York Athletic Club, tied for second; Lentilhon took place on toss. Final won by Williams; time, 0:16 4-5; Schwegler second.

ONE-MILE RUN. -- Five starters. Won by A. B. George, Manhattan Athletic Club; time, 4:35 4-5; W. McCarthy, Manhattan Athletic Club, second.

880-YARD RUN. -- Four starters. Won by J. S. Roddy, Manhattan Athletic Club and Princeton; time, 2:10 2-5; W. H. Wright, New-York Athletic Club and Harvard College, second.

220-YARD RUN. -- Three starters. Won by L. H. Carey, Manhattan Athletic Club; time, 0:23 2-5; T. J. Lee, New-York Athletic Club, second.

220-YARD HURDLE. -- Six starters. First heat won by E. Lentilhon, New-York Athletic Club; time 0:33 4-5; A. Brown, Pastimes, second. Second heat won by H. L. Williams, New-York Athletic Club and Yale College; time, 0:27 2-5; George Schwegler, New-York Athletic Club and Yale College, second. Final won by Schwegler; time, 0:27 1/2; Williams second.

440-YARD RUN. -- Four starters. Won by L. H. Carey, Manhattan Athletic Club; time, 0:53; J. C. Devereaux, Manhattan Athletic Club, second.

OBSTACLE RACE. -- Won by J. H. Bell, New-York Athletic Club; B. G. Woodruff, New-Jersey Athletic Club, second.

PUTTING THE 16-POUND SHOT. -- Five contestants. George R. Gray, New-York Athletic Club, 44 feet 6 3/4 inches; F. L. Lambrecht, Manhattan Athletic Club, 40 feet 11 5/8 inches; E. J. Giannini, New-York Athletic Club, 37 feet 1 inch.

POLE VAULT. -- Five contestants. E. D. Rider, New-York Athletic Club and Yale College, 10 feet 4 inches; J. Crane, Jr., Boston Athletic Association, tied at 10 feet 1 inch. Crane won on toss.

RUNNING HIGH JUMP. -- Four contestants. R. K. Pritchard, Manhattan Athletic Club, 5 feet 10 inches; H. L. Hallock, Manhattan Athletic Club, and F. C. Hooper, Berkeley Athletic Club, tied at 5 feet 6 inches. Hallock won on toss.

THROWING 16-POUND HAMMER. -- Four contestants. W. L. Coudon, New-York Athletic Club, 123 feet 6 3/4 inches; F. L. Lambrecht, Manhattan Athletic Club, 112 feet 8 1/2 inches; M. O'Sullivan, Pastimes, 88 feet 2 inches.

RUNNING BROAD JUMP. -- Nine contestants. E. E. Barnes, New-Jersey Athletic Club, 21 feet 9 1/2 inches; Victor Mapes, Berkeley Athletic Club, 20 feet 11 1/2 inches; C. T. Wiegand, New-York Athletic Club, 20 feet 4 inches.

Source: Ladies' Day At Travers Island, N.Y. Times, Jun. 8, 1890, p. 5.

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At 10:17 PM, Blogger Perry Degener said...

My grandfather attended these games in 1919, but he surely was not an athelete. I marvel at how far our girl and women atheletes have come--now THEY are a major draw for spectators to watch their feats of sport.


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