This article originally ran in the Sept. 26, 1954 issue of the Sioux City Journal.
Sioux Cityans have had an active interest in all types of sports, both spectator and participant, since their home town was a wide awake frontier settlement.
However, the type of sport enjoying the greatest popularity has changed a great deal in the city's 100-year history. Horse races, rowing, regattas, foot races and bicycle speed events eventually gave way more or less to automobile races, golf, boxing, bowling and basketball.
Baseball, throughout the past century has colored the city's sports history, and by the early 1880's football began to share the spotlight.
Baseball began in Sioux City on corner lots, played by boys and young men, just as in other cities and towns. Its actual start here is shrouded by the veil of time, for baseball itself is well over a century in age.
Sioux City went through all the transitions of the baseball rules, and early day fans watched the catcher getting the ball on the first bounce, and the batsman calling for the type of pitch he wanted. Among the early players here were two Spaldings -- Ed and James -- cousins of the famous Chicago baseball star, and later sporting goods man, A.G. Spalding.
Many players on Sioux City ball teams in the past have won fame in the "big leagues", but as far as can be ascertained the only native Sioux Cityan to do so was Dave Bancroft.
Dave started his baseball career with Duluth in 1909 and later played in the Pacific Coast and Northwestern leagues. In 1914 he was sold to the Philadelphia Nationals where he played 153 games at shortstop in 1915. He was with the Phillies until 1920, when he was traded to the New York Giants. He remained with the Giants until 1923 when he was traded to the Boston Braves. He became manager of the Braves in 1924 and served in that capacity through 1926.
In 1927 Bancroft signed with the Brooklyn Nationals and remained there until he was released late in 1929. He then went to the Giants as coach. He remained in that post until 1933, when he went to the Minneapolis Millers as manager. After one season, he retired from baseball.
In all, Bancroft served 19 years in the National league. He played in four World Series, with the Phillies in 1915 and the Giants in 1921, 1922 and 1923.
The Corn Palace outfit of the late 1880s, whose mustached players wore flashy wine colored suits, probably was the best known team here before the advent of organized baseball. The Corn Palace lineup included Harry Gooch, catcher, and later postmaster here; D.E. Kerby, catcher; E.J. Hanlon, first baseman and later owner of the Western league team here; and Jack Jordan, later county auditor and famous as a square dance caller.
Sioux City entered professional baseball in 1888, taking the Western association franchise from St. Louis which had dropped out of the circuit. Sioux City's first professional game was played July 4, 1888, at Des Moines. There Sioux City lost a doubleheader.
On the same afternoon at Evans park, the Corn Palace club, which faded gradually because of the competition of professional ball, lost to the Union Pacifics of Omaha, 9 to 6.
League games were played at Evans park, located in what is now the Crescent park area of the city. The park originally had been built for horse races, which had enjoyed great popularity, so it was equipped with fences and grandstands, as well as a dirt track.
In 1891 Sioux City won its first pennant with a Cornhusker team. This was the club that incorrectly is supposed to have won a world's championship.
However, these are the facts. The team defeated "Cap" Anson's Chicago Colts of the National league in a series of games during Corn Palace week. Chicago at that time was disputing Boston's claim to the National league championship title. In advertising the Chicago-Sioux City series, promoters made capital out of that fact. This explains the impression that some folks still have that it was a world championship series.
When the Cornhuskers won, there was great jubilation in Sioux City. But the fly in the ointment is a large one -- baseball's official records gave Boston the 1891 National league championship.
One of the best known Sioux City teams was William H. Watkins' 1894 champions. Several players on that team went to the big leagues. Among them were Billy Hart, a pitcher and later a big league umpire; Cummingham, who went to Louisville; Genius, outfielder, who played with St. Louis and Ace Stewart, captain, who became a Chicago star.
After 1894, the scene of combat was shifted to Riverside park. There games were played up to 1916. Then Mizzou park, well remembered by many present day baseball fans, was built on the banks of the Missouri river between Pierce and Douglas streets.
After 1900 Sioux City's most glorious days in early league baseball were 1908, 1909, and 1910 when the club won two pennants and lost a third by only three percentage points. Ducky Holmes, one of the most colorful minor league baseball players of all time, managed those teams.
There was a pennant drought for three years, but in 1914 Sioux City bounced back into the picture again to win Sioux City's last pennant for many years. Sioux City cinched the 1914 flag through the wildness of Dazzy Vance, later Brooklyn's great pitching ace, then hurling for St. Joseph.
Sioux City came upon bad baseball days after 1914 and was in and out of the league until 1919 when the Boosters association took over the franchise. Charley Schmidt, the old Detroit Tiger, managed the club that year.
In the next two or three seasons, Sioux City was a chronic second division club. The Sioux City franchise was moved to Lincoln in the fall of 1923, and in 1924 an attempt to include Sioux City in the class D Tristate league failed and the league folded. Sioux City, by the way, was the first farm club of the St. Louis Cardinals, and among the players on the 1924 D-league team were Al Bool, later catcher for Pittsburgh, and Archie Campbell, later pitcher for Cincinnati.
A 10-year period elapsed before Sioux City returned in organized baseball. In the meantime, the Sioux City stockyards Co., had built the stockyards park, one of the finest in the Midwest, and Sioux City fans had been given a steady diet of semi-pro ball far above the ordinary.
In 1934 Sioux City returned to the Western league and, under Dutch Zwiling, shared in a three-way tie for the first half championship, but lost out in the playoff. In 1935, with Hack Wilson at the helm, the Cowboys won their series of the Shaughnessy playoff and carried St. Joseph to seven games before losing the championship.
Baseball hit new heights in popularity those years, and huge crowds of the knothole gang added to the crowds, and some 110,000 persons saw the 1934 team in action. The Cowboys had a fast, snappy team, and fans still remember some of the popular players, including Hugh Willingham, the speedy third baseman; Hugh Luby, the whistling second sacker who went briefly to the majors and then had a long career in the Coast league; Hack Wilson, the big catcher who had been in the majors, and, of course, the irrepressible "Moose" Johnson.
The Big Moose, one of the most powerful hitters ever seen in Sioux City, allowed his love of the spirits to interfere with a career that might have ended in the majors. His undependability and his happy antics in right field -- such as standing on his head -- finally led to his downfall.
In 1936 and 1937 the teams were not up to the race and the amazing crowds began to fall off. The league finally dissolved, and in 1938 Sioux City became a member of the class D Nebraska league with Pete Monahan's Cowboys finishing second in the first half of the split season, and winning the second. In the playoff, Sioux City lost to Norfolk.
Sioux City played one more season in the Nebraska league -- by then called the Western league, and in 1940 dropped out of organized ball, and remained inactive during World War II.
The Western league was reorganized for class A ball during the winter of 1946 and 1947, with six teams, Sioux City, Omaha, Lincoln, Denver, Pueblo and Des Moines. The Sioux City team, christened the Soos, was formed by a small group of businessmen with Adam Pratt and R.M. ("Mike") Murphy heading the group. The ball park, at its present location at 14th and Steuben streets, was built in approximately 30 days, completing construction just in time for the opening of the 1947 season May 1.
The old Stockyards park, which had been leased to the Western league for many years at a nominal rental, and used for high school and college football games was torn down soon after the Cowboys disbanded to make room for the yard's increased business.
The present Sioux City Soos have been affiliated with the New York Giants farm system throughout their entire operation. The Soos only pennant was won in 1947 but the team lost in the first round of the playoffs. However, the Soos have won three playoffs.
In 1948, the Soos finished in a tie for third place, and won the playoff. The team's fortunes hit bottom in 1949, when the Soos finished last. In 1950 the league expanded to eight clubs with the addition of Colorado Springs and Wichita. The Soos that year finished second, and won the playoff.
The Soos, who finished fourth in 1951, won the playoff, retiring the first governor's cup, which was to go to the first team to win three championships. In 1952, the Soos finished fourth and lost in the playoff, and in 1953 finished seventh.
The managers of the Soos have been Joe Becker, 1947 and 1948; Don Ramsay, 1949; Hugh Pland, 1950; Chick Genovese, 1951; Ray Mueller, 1952 and 1953; and Dave Garcia, second baseman in 1947, manager for 1954.
Top players for the 1947 team were Garcia, Don Wheeler, catcher; Larry Miggins, outfielder; and Sam Webb, John Uber and Johnnie Niggeling, pitchers. The 1948 team had fanciful Tookie Gilbert, long ball hitter who received a $50,000 bonus for signing with the Giants; and Bobby Jofman, second baseman, who now is a very proficient pinch hitter with the Giants.
The 1950 team starred Billy Gardner, third baseman now with the Giants; Daryl Spencer, shortstop, who now is in service after being with the Giants in 1953; and Ray Katt, now No. 2 catcher for the Giants. The outfield included Big Bill Taylor, leading home run hitter; Gail Henley, who was with the Pittsburgh Pirates at the start of the 1954 season, and the ever popular Billy Pavlik, again on the Soos roster this year. Charlie Bishop, leading 1950 pitcher, recently was recalled by the Philadelphia Athletics from Ottawa.
Ronny Samford, second baseman, who played with the Giants briefly and now is in the Coast league, played here in 1951. Mario Picone was the 1953 outstanding hurler, that season also starring the popular Chico Ibanez. The 1954 Soos roster included Willie White, first baseman, considered and exceptional prospect.
Football has been a major Sioux City sport from the early 1880's until the present. The fame was part of the athletic program of the high school, then located at Eighth and Pierce streets.
In 1888 the University of the Northwest was started here and a little later the name was changed to Morningside College. Football likewise was played by the collegians and one team, the 1898 eleven, enjoyed an undefeated, unscored upon season. Three scoreless ties were played, but regardless, that team probably was Sioux City's first well known gridiron aggregation.
The best known product of Sioux City high school football in the early days was Ralph Tredway who later when to Yale university. His name also was borrowed for a play title, "Tredway of Yale," in which Nat Goodwin played the leading role. Tredway was captain of the crew at Yale.
Russell Marks, the son of C.R. Marks, was another Sioux Cityan who made a name in football at Yale.
Morningside's football teams made some fine records in the years before and during World War I, playing with such large schools as Iowa State, Notre Dame and others. Two games were played with Notre Dame -- in 1917 and again in 1919. The Maroons lost both but by close scores.
Morningside's football stars in those years were Jerry Johnson who gained all-American recognition while playing with the Great Lakes Naval Training station team during World War I; "Obe" Wenig, Vic Menefee and others.
Morningside college in recent years has been a member of the North Central conference, and in 1923 won the championship.
Almost every year, the Maroons have placed men in the all-conference team but the greatest glory for a Maroon came in 1949 when Connie Callahan, brilliant Morningside halfback, made the Little all-American aggregation.
Sioux City high school football produced many stars one of whom was Nick ("Cowboy") Kutsch who went to Iowa. Others were George Farleys who played at Nebraska; "Rip" Collins, regular end, and Howard Odell, halfback, at Pittsburgh; Forrest Olson, guard, and Harold Griffen, center, at Iowa and Harold Steele, guard at Michigan.
The start of East high school in 1926 developed an intense intercity rivalry with Central high school, the interest in the city title being increased with the recent addition of the Heelan high school football squad to the competition. Leeds high school, which annually produces a fine football squad, as yet hasn't entered the contest for the city football title.
High school and college football received a boost in 1942 with the construction of the Sioux City public schools stadium which spreads over a 16-acre tract in Morningside. The project represents planning and construction by the Sioux City school district over a period of 17 years. The tract was purchased in 1925. Year by year improvements climaxed in 1942 by completion of the north stand, represented expenditures of about $100,000.
Basketball, first introduced in 1892 by Dr. James A. Naismith, its originator, in Springfield, Mass., as Y.M.C.A. activity, soon came into use at the Y.M.C.A. in Sioux City, with young men of the city joining enthusiastically in the new sport.
When basketball first was introduced, it had little appeal generally, and originally was termed a "sissy" game. Through the years since then, basketball has gained amazing popularity around the world. Its speed, high sportsmanship, and the grueling nature of contests has placed it in the nation's No. 1 spot as a spectator sport.
The Y.M.C.A. gym -- which still is in use in the old building at Seventh and Pierce streets -- for many years was the only place equipped for basketball. When A.G. ("Pop") Heitman came to Sioux City high school in 1912, the high school practice and games were being held in the Y.M.C.A. gym.
The high school teams played at various spots during the years, as builders of the Castle on the Hill had no way of foreseeing the need of an adequate gym, as the building was constructed about the same time as basketball was invented in the east. From the Y.M.C.A., the teams moved to the Wilson gym, and then to the East high school gym after the school's construction in 1926. One year Central players used the Consistory building, at that time owned by the Knights of Columbus.
In 1930, Central high school was remodeled, making way for a basketball floor and seats for 1,200 spectators. Now, however, the Central team has the fine new gymnasium which seats 5,000 spectators, in the recently completed annex south of the main structure.
Many high school basketball stars have gone from Sioux City schools to further heights in college play, and later have entered the coaching field. An example is Forrest Twogood, a member of the championship Sioux City team in 1924, who now is head basketball coach at Southern California.
Sioux City high schools have two state championships to their credit. Central -- or Sioux City high school as it was then called -- won in 1924, and East High School in 1934.
Morningside college careers always have been strong contenders in conference cage circles, as their record indicates. The Maroons won the championship in 1926, 1938 and 1947, and in 1951 tied for the title with Iowa State Teachers. Morningside cagers also have the conference record for the most points in one season, when they scored 955 in 1953.
The Maroons also took part in conference game which has the record for the most points, when they defeated South Dakota State 98 to 92 January 9, 1953 at Brookings.
Basketball is a major sport in Sioux City outside of school circles, and semipro and amateur leagues are among the city's most popular sports activities.
Semipro teams have brought fame to Sioux City on the basketball court. The Old Home Bread team from 1940 to 1944 took part in the national A.A.U. tournament at Denver several times, and won national recognition when Johnnie Helm was picked on the second all-American team in 1944. The teams were managed by Bill Kimball.
From 1948 to 1953 Kimball had teams in the Denver tourney under the name of Jamco, and in 1951 the Jamcos went to the quarterfinals of the national. Bob Pierce, University of Nebraska member of the Jamcos, that year placed on the second team, Jamco members were culled from schools of Sioux City and the surrounding territory, and included in 1950 Big Jim McIntyre, all-American from Minnesota university.
In seven years of managing Old Home Bread teams, Kimball's cagers had 189 wins out of 211 ball games.
Sioux City had a professional team -- the Johnson Jukes -- in 1949 and 1950. They made an impressive record the first year, sparked by the brilliant playing of Gale Stevens, Johnnie Helm, Johnnie Held and Jack Larson.
Likewise Sioux City had a brief career in the American Amateur Hockey league, when the Ramblers competed during the 1953 season.
Boxing in the last 20 years of the 19th century was taboo in Sioux City. But citizens wanted fights, and the had 'em. There were no spacious arenas back in the 1880s and the 1980s and most of the fights were held outside the city limits. The grounds near the Floyd monument were popular for fights. At other times, ice houses were used, and occasionally a ring was set up in a wooded area.
Promoters, of course, depended largely on word-of-mouth advertising. The matches were arranged, a date and a location chosen, and soon the whisper went around that a fight was to be held.
Among the better known early day fighters were Billy O'Donnell and Stout, both packing-house employees. The well-known "Australian Billy" Murphy, once champion, made Sioux City his home toward the end of his career, and fought here many times.
Wrestling was considered a bit more respectable, and matches were held at the Academy of Music and at the Goldies rink on the present site of the Victory theater. Farmer Burns, Frank Gotch, Hackenshmidt and many other famous heavyweights appeared here.
Not many years after the run of the century, boxing began to be tolerated, and soon became a popular sport. From 1920 to 1940 Sioux City produced many top-flighted fighters. Earl McArthur, fighting as a bantamweight, gained national recognition for a newspaper decision victory over Joe Lynch, then champion, at Omaha. He also waged two spectacular fights with the clever Peter Sarmiento, one here and one in San Francisco.
Contemporaries of "Mac" were Newsboy Brown and Connie Curry, also bantamweights. Both achieved distinction in boxing and both met some of the best boys at their weight.
A little later, Sioux City claimed a heavyweight contender, Tuffy Griffith who, however, didn't quite get to the top. He found King Levinsky, Ernie Schaaf, Max Baer, Young Stribling and many other good heavyweights before he retired in 1933. Toward the end of the 1930s, Sioux City's best known boxer was Everette Rightmire, a featherweight.
Since 1935 when the first tournament was held here, the Golden Gloves has been the principal boxing activity in Sioux City. With the exception of the first competition, which was sponsored by the Junior Chamber of Commerce, Golden Gloves has been a promotion, first of the Journal, later the Journal-Tribune publications and in recent years Journal-Tribune Charities, Inc. The 21 annual Golden Gloves tournament will be held next February. (note on page: last tournament in 1957)
In the last 20 years of competition thousands of ambitious youngsters from the city and territory have competed in the annual boxing classic and two national champions have emerged -- Clayton Johnson who won the bantamweight title in 1944 and Gale Outhouse, who won the lightweight crown in 1949.
Sioux City also lays at least partial claim to another national Golden Gloves champion -- Orian Ott, who won the heavyweight title in 1944. Ott previously had represented Sioux City twice in Chicago Tournament of Champions, but in 1944, being in the navy air corps, he won the title as a member of the Fort Worth, Texas, team.
A few of the Golden Gloves fighters, such as Clayton Johnson, Orian Ott, Leo Mahan and Gale Outhouse, made a try in the professional ranks, but didn't go far.
Wrestling flourished in Sioux City for several years after World War I, and there were some great matches in those days. John Eliades, who now operates John's Cafe, was one of the top-flight wrestlers at that time. However, the sport languished for some years.
Beginning around 1930, there were sporadic attempts to bring wrestling back to Sioux City as a major spectator sport. None of these attempts proved very successful until George Parnassus took over as wrestling promoter in 1952.
Parnassus, with the new auditorium arena as the site, has brought to Sioux City the last few years, nationally known wrestlers. The sport popularized among women as well as men mainly by television, has proved one of the biggest drawing events in the city the last two years.
Bowling, which has become the largest participation sport in the United States, and which has similar interest locally, received its beginning in Sioux City around the turn of the century.
The first bowling alleys were installed here in the early 1900s by Johnny Curry and Frank Bruggerman. Hugh Sweeney installed the next alley above the present location of John's Cafe on Fourth Street, later moving them to the present location of the Lone Star Store. At that time George Ebright joined Sweeney in operating the alleys.
Among the first alleys was the old Selzer layout, run in connection with the Selzer saloon, down by the old Tribune building on Pierce street. In 1914 George Geiger and Joe Bruggerman opened a four-alley layout in the Lerch building where the Gamble store now is located.
Bowling was strictly a man's game until the 1920s when prohibition closed the saloons in which the alleys usually were located. The saloons closed, but the bowling alleys remained in operation. Bowling didn't become popular as far as women were concerned until some movie actress started to bowl, creating a lot of fairer sex in the early 1930s.
Cocked hat competition had been popular here since the opening days of the boat clubs at Riverside, and some women received their first interest in regulation bowling through their games at the clubs.
There now are almost 100 leagues and four large bowling alleys in Sioux City, the oldest being the War Eagle alleys, 521 Pierce street, opened in 1924. Monroe ("Hat") Hattenbach, veteran manager of the alleys, recently recalled many bowling highlights he has seen in his 26 years at the alleys.
Outstanding teams in the last quarter century include the Old Western Brews, Cusack laundry, Virginia cafe, Holdcroft's, General Tobacco, Wigman's, Securities Acceptance, Kinsbury's, Eagles, Grayson's, Brodkey & Goodsite, War Eagle, First National-Storz, Tagg Bros., and The Sioux City Journal Lefties.
Some of the famous doubles teams that have played in competition here, as well as in tournaments all over the United States, are Johnny White and Bill Goodsite, and Jack Montagne and Paul Gustafson.
The outstanding individual bowler in the last quarter century, in Hattenbach's opinion, was Eddie Schmidt, who rolled two 300 games at the War Eagle in one season, and during a period of five years had at least one perfect game each year in addition to a 298 and a 299 score.
The highest three-game series bowled by an individual in sanctioned play at the War Eagle alleys here, said Hattenbach, was rolled by Art Cummings of Minneapolis in the Interstate tournament in 1937, with games of 270, 278 and 255 for a total of 803. The highest three-game team score was 3,256, posted by Ed Schmidt, Jack Soelberg, Matt Temple, William Riley and Charles Manship.
The highest women's team score ever rolled at the alley managed by Hattenbach was in 1947, by the War Eagle women's team for a total of 2,856, by Mable Wilson, Opal Willey, Joan Montagne, Helen Klein and Sue Lauters.
In comparing the bowling alleys of the early 1900s with those of half a century later, Hattenbach said that in the first days of Sioux City bowling, alleys cost about $500 a pair, compared to $9,000 a pair today. Pins cost $2.50 per set, compared to about $30 per set today.
Golf has become one of Sioux City's most prominent participation -- and spectacular -- sports within the last two decades, but it wasn't always so popular.
Back in the 1890s, those who played were considered a bit peculiar, and few persons could understand why any sane individual would want to hit a little white ball, and follow it miles over a cow pasture under the burning sun.
Golf received its major start in Sioux City around 1888, when the Sioux City Country club constructed a golf course on farm land extending from Goldie avenue north and west to the Big Sioux river bridge in Riverside.
The Sioux City Country club operated the course in Riverside for about 20 years, before moving to its present location at 40th and Jackson streets. The present Country club course at first was only nine holes but later, as the game developed a following it was increased to 18 holes.
Around 1890 the Sioux City Boat club built its Elmwood course, and a short time later a course was constructed at the Morningside Country club.
Golf really became popular in Sioux City, however, when it became available to would-be golfers who didn't belong to private clubs. Around 1923 the city council set up two municipal golf courses, Floyd in Morningside and Highview on the west side. Shortly thereafter other public courses were opened -- Meadow Grove in Leeds along highway 75 near the Floyd river; Twin Valley, north of St. Anthony's orphanage; Briar Cliff course, now used by Briar Cliff college; Happy Hollow, along the Milwaukee right-of-way in Morningside, and Sunset, at 20th and Dearborn streets.
The increase in club memberships by golfers is believed to be the reason why many of the public courses have closed. However, Floyd municipal course and the Sunset course, the only public courses, remain high in popularity at the present time.
Golf as a spectator sport entered into the Sioux City picture in the 1930s, when nationally famous golfers began coming to Sioux City for exhibition matches. These included Billy Burke and George Von Elm, 1931; Gene Sarazen and Joe Kirkwood, sr., 1933; Johnny Goodman and Senator Sam Reynolds of Nebraska, 1933; Gene Sarazen and Babe Didrickson, 1935; Johnny Goodman and Jimmy Thomson and Horton Smith, 1937; Byron Nelson, Jug McSpayden, Jimmy Hines and Jimmy Thomson, 1944; Chick Harbert and Jimmy Demaret, 1947; Sam Snead and Cary Middlecoff, 1949; Ben Hogan, 1954.
The Iowa open golf tournament has been held in Sioux City twice at the Elmwood course -- in 1941 and 1949.
For three years, in 1950, '51 and '52, under the sponsorship of the Sioux City Sertoma club, Sioux City was host to the $15,000 Sioux City P.G.A. tournament at the Elmwood course. Sixty golfers, most of them of national fame, entered each year, including Sam Snead, Cary Middlecoff, Lloyd Mangrum, Lawson Little and Porky Oliver. Jack Burke, Jr., won in 1950; Buck White in 1951, and Al Beeselink in 1952.
Sioux City courses have produced a number of top rate golfers. Perhaps two of the most picturesque are Bill Adams, professional and manager of the Sioux City Boat club Elmwood course for 25 years, who have been paired against many of the nation's greatest golfers in exhibition matches here, and Mike Sheraman, veteran of 40 years as professional at the Sioux City Country club.
Others who brought fame to Sioux City in recent years are Jim Gardner, who won the Iowa open in 1941 and the Florida amateur in 1943; Chick Adams, who won the South Dakota open in 1953, and the Donohue brothers, Jack and Phil. Leading amateur golfers in earlier years were Rudy Knepper and C. Lee Herron who competed in national meets and achieved high honors in state and sectional tournaments.
Tennis, another oldtimer in the sports history of Sioux City, has had several fluctuations in popularity, and at the present time -- 1954 -- seems on the upgrade again.
Members of the English colony introduced the game here first and among the players were such prominent citizen as W. Fordham Morgan, Gross R. T. Patrick, A. B. Beall and J.C. Duncan.
Vacant corner lots were used principally, but as the sports gained in popularity, a number of families had private courts at their homes, both lawn and hard surface.
Courts were laid out on vacant lots at 12th and Jones streets, 12th and Pierce streets, and Seventh and Jennings streets. In 1900 Sioux City was the scene of the first tournaments promoted by Ernie and F.D. ("Dike") Baker, brothers and sons of H.A. Baker, who started the overall factory. The state meet was held here and a tristate tournament was begun.
One year, Charles Carey and W. Stewart Gilman (former mayor) won the state doubles title. Gilman also won titles in singles competition. Private play gradually moved to courts at the Sioux City and Riverside boat clubs and most of the tournaments were held there.
In the 1930s the Sioux City Tennis club sponsored interstate meets here. Some of the best players in the city's history competed here from 1937 to 1942. However, tennis activity dropped here during world war 2 years. After the war's end, interest in tennis began to grow and at the present time city meets are sponsored by the Sioux City recreation department and the Greater Sioux City Athletic association. Tennis enthusiasts state that interest in tennis has doubled in 1954 over last season, and a number of intercity matches are being played.
One of the more interesting sports that enjoyed a run of popularity here, only to fade out, was foot racing. A big reason for its decline in popularity probably was the betting angle. Professional foot racers made quite a business of it, traveling around the country and engaging in challenge races with home town prides.
Ringers would lose the first time out, but would ask for a return race with a side bet. Naturally, the home town supporters were eager to cash in on the racing prowess of their man, so they'd bet large sums -- and with the money on the line, the pros would win.
Bicycle races were popular in the 1890s, with an annual road race being held from LeMars to Sioux City. Charles W. Ashley was the champion bicyclist here at that time, and won so many victories that he had quite a collection of medals.
The Journal, in writing about Ashley's win in 1894 in the LeMars to Sioux City classic said:
"The distance is 28 1/4 miles. The dust was deep, which interfered with the action of the tires and bearings. Aside from the dust and the fact that a great many teams were encountered on the road, the riders had no complaint."
In the early days of the boat clubs, boating was the chief pastime, and many regattas were held on the Big Sioux river. Competition was held in singles, doubles and four-man rowing. Many good rowers were developed and they made fine records in state regattas, some of which were held here.
Some of the leading rowers were E.C. Currier, Charles Claypool, Harry Gooch, J.H. Osborne, Charley Howell, Fred Taylor, Eugene Del Fosse, Everett Sweeley and Lewis Caton.
Many other sports have become popular in Sioux City in recent years, most of them being participant rather than spectator. Hundreds of Sioux Cityans, both men and women, are enthusiastic devotees of hunting and fishing.
The Inland Outboard Motor Boat Racing association sponsors annually a series of races at Brown's lake and throughout this part of the country, in which there are many Sioux City entrants.
Trapshooting occupies the interests of members of the Sioux City gun club and the Skyline Gun club, and members of the Sioux Bowmen have made outstanding records at archery meets throughout this area.
Horse racing and automobile racing in Sioux City have given way to a new sport -- stock car racing -- which has been conducted the last few years at Riverview park.
Swimming with the added impetus of the Red Cross program, and the installation of pools in some of the schools, has become a major sport here, and probably will be even more popular in the years ahead. Sioux City schools and colleges also participate every spring in intercity and inter-school track meets.
Athletic development of the individual has been achieved to the greatest extent in recent years through the well-rounded program of the Sioux City department of recreation, which sponsors all types of activity from softball to basketball.
Another impetus in the development of athletic programs in Sioux City is the interest and substantial backing of business men, who have organized the Greater Sioux City Athletic association.