Baseball & Football

by Chris Bain 

Play Ball!  Yes, this might not be the week of the opening of baseball season, and even if it was, I bet that doesn’t make you think about Dunkin’ Donuts.  Well, in Port Washington, once known as Cow Neck, it should.  But first, look at this winning team of Port Washington’s hometown hitters, decked out in their spiffy uniforms.  Do you wonder where they played?  Where was there a baseball field in Port Washington in, say, 1910?

Here’s a related postcard, showing the Central Hotel, owned by the McGirr family, who lived nearby.  The sign says that they served “Pure Lager & Ales”, and I bet their “central” location, almost directly across from the relatively new Long Island Railroad Station, where the current Dunkin’ Donuts is located, helped their business.  OK, so now you know where the hotel is.  Note that the text also says “Entrance to Base-ball Ground”.  Behind the row of stores that contain Dunkin’ Donuts is a parking lot, and before there was a parking lot there, there was a baseball field.    Look at the photo below, put the hotel where Dunkin' Donuts is today, and imagine our local boys coming from all over town to play “base-ball”. 

The McGirr house is shown below,  which was on Irma Avenue, behind Bank of America.  Nice house!  IF this was taken from Irma Avenue, looking east, then the baseball field might be off there to the right.

Below is another year’s view of the team, now sporting a few guys in suits and/or ties.  A young Black man in the front has a different uniform, with some letter preceding the "W. Reis”.  If anyone recognizes a distant relative, speak up, via email or Facebook.

So drop by that parking lot behind Dunkin’ Donuts this month, and pause for a moment, looking for the history on that very spot.  It’s all around you, if you just take a few minutes to pause, remember, or imagine.

Football circa 1919  

For many Port Washington families, back to school includes Back-To-Sports, closely followed by our own Port Washington football teams, long known as the Vikings.  Back before all of our time, when the high school was at Main Street School (Landmark on Main Street), Port had a serious looking football team, shown below.  If you think you recognize a grand-father, or great grandfather, check out the names in the 2nd picture.  Click on the photo to enlarge it in a new window.

QUESTION:  Did you grow up playing sports in and around Port Washington, once upon known as Cow Neck?  Where did you you go to school?  Do you have any artifacts from your school days that you don't know what to do with?  Our friend Carole McDonald Gilmore recently contributed items from Flower Hill School, now on exhibit in the new School exhibit in the Wysong Room at the Sands-Willets house.  Consider your town's historical society as a home for your own momentos, from matchbooks and menus, to photographs and home movies around town, which should all be saved for posterity.

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336 Port Washington Blvd., Port Washington, NY 11050-4530
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