I have a friend who is a very contemporary, up-to-date kind of fellow. He is always centered exclusively on the here and now. His clothes shine with newness; he knows the release dates of the latest movies and what the movie stars have been up to. The future? Too vague to bother with. History? Come on, forget about it! What could be more boring than musty days gone by? He has often remarked that he finds my passion for history mystifying, an awkward defect in an otherwise good friend.
I was thinking of this today when I pulled up my Christy Mathewson file. In it there are nearly 350 different items ranging from photos to copies of news clippings and even other bits of information that relate to the Giant hurler only vaguely. Now, I’ll admit that much in this file is pretty obscure, things I’ll probably find useless even if I live another fifty years. It is, however, these seemingly insignificant details that can bring a person, a time and a place to life. So, with that in mind I’d like to share a few of the items in my Mathewson folder.
Factoryville, PA, 1891. Can anyone tell me where his home would have located?
Two images of an older Matty…He was only 45 when he died in 1925.
Two contemporary images of the luxurious Santanoni Apartments in Saranac Lake, New York. Mathewson had moved to Saranac to take advantage of the nearby tuberculosis treatment center and sanatorium. The final image is of the floor plan to his apartment. Old teammate Larry Doyle, afflicted in 1942 with the same disease, also made his way to Saranac. He stayed at the Trudeau Sanitarium a full twelve years, until it closed in 1954 with the introduction of effective antibiotics. He was the last patient to leave, walking off the grounds.
Jeanie, very kind of you to bring us up to date. Thank you. It looks like a nice home now but I imagine that it looked quite different then. I like the barn out back the best!
I believe Matty’s house is located in the lower right portion of the map backing onto the creek where it broadens just past the little isle. Like you, I believe these rich little nuggets of information helps round out a historical person broadening our understanding of who he or she was and the times in which they lived. It’s so often true that the “devil (or God) is in the details.”
I was also interested to see that one of my favorite old-time players, Laughing Larry Doyle, spent time at the Trudeau Sanitarium. It was something I did not know about the former league batting champ and MVP.
Re: your friend’s aversion to history, reminds me of the great quote by George Santayana: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” ; )
Thanks for the little nuggets of history on the “Christian Gentleman.” Love that old map, by the way!
All the best,
Ah ha! I’ve looked at that map closely several times and had never figured that out. You have eagle eyes! Any idea if it still exists?
Hello! I grew up in Factoryville and I believe the place where you are describing by the creek is Christy Matthewson park. His house would be above where the train is on the map. The train tracks on this map are now where Rte 6 and 11 run. Take a look at 16 Matthewson Terrace Factoryville,PA on google maps or some other map program and that will show you where his boyhood home is. If you are interested in looking at it, I can see that it was also listed for sale as well and there are some pictures of the house which I also found interesting. Hope this is helpful!