i dug into this thing’s background, and it was too familiar. turns out i posted a pic of it in 2018, but back then my research resources were the google machine and hope. now, i can tell a little more of its story. the house just missed inclusion in the 1876 map, as it was being built in 1876. the benjamin miller family - dad, mom, 8 kids - lived here as far back as 1884, and at least through the early 1900s. benjamin, a german immigrant, ran a hat business (pic no 2, gotta look close to see the sign), which he started in 1862. 2 of his sons, george and ben jr, were prominent in the local amateur sports scene. back then there wasn’t any sort of official little league stuff; kids grouped themselves together by neighborhood, formed teams, and then played against teams of kids from other neighborhoods, often soliciting challengers via newspaper ads. as an example, george was the starting shortstop for the elliot blues (elliot was a neighborhood street name), a team of kids 17 yrs old and younger; per an 1884 newspaper ad, anybody wishing to challenge them was to send word to george at his home address. ben jr. was recognized for his baseball talents as a kid as well, but it was after his dad died in 1908 that he really made a name for himself in the local sports world. the hat store’s most prominent sporting claim was sponsoring a soccer team, 1913-1935, that won a variety of top shelf leagues and a national tournament, with a number of players later inducted into the national soccer hall of fame. but ben jr also assembled amateur baseball teams that played games at sportsman’s park, and a hockey team that played in a 1904 world’s fair remnant. it seems like amateur sports leagues were a huge part of life for a lot of people, and it’s kinda cool that one of the people that grew up in this house had a hand in making so much of it possible.
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