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1901 Huntington Ave. Grounds - Home of the Red Sox - Groundbreaking Photo
Starting Bid - $500.00, Sold For - $1,292.50
Remarkable and extremely significant oversized cabinet photo, taken by the renowned photography studio of Elmer Chickering, captures the 1901 groundbreaking ceremony for the Huntington Ave. Baseball Grounds in Boston. As noted by the period notations along the top and bottom of the mount, the photo pictures Arthur "Hi-Hi" Dixwell, Boston's "Chief Crank," as he prepares to remove the first shovel of dirt from the future home of the Boston Red Sox. Surrounding him are a number of dignitaries, including Timothy Murnane, and the team's core fan base, "The Roxbury Rooters." The lettering along the top of the mount reads "Huntington Ave. Base-Ball Grounds - 1st Shovel," while the bottom makes note of the date and individuals present, "March 12, 1901 First Spadeful of Dirt Unearthed - Chief Crank 'Hi-Hi' Dixwell with T. H. Murnane and the Roxbury Rooters." The name "T. H. Murnane - Globe" appears in blue lettering along the right border, written in the hand of the legendary former player, baseball executive, and The Boston Globe sportswriter Timothy Murnane. Research of The Boston Globe newspaper archives reveals that the actual date of the groundbreaking was March 7, 1901, not March 12th. The Globe's article on the event, which includes a near identical photo (taken from a different angle), states that "The ceremony of digging the first dirt was witnessed by about 200 baseball enthusiasts, about half of whom were invited guests." The paper also goes on to make note the short time table involved in the construction of the ballpark: "Workmen will begin to grade the grounds this morning, and have a big job before them to get the place in shape for any kind of baseball by the middle of May. Work on the grandstand will begin next week, as the material is about ready." Miraculously, the construction of the Huntington Ave. Grounds was completed in less than two months. On May 8, 1901 the Red Sox christened their new home by defeating the Philadelphia Athletics 12-4. In an interesting side note, and one that truly emphasizes the relationship between the Boston fans and their hometown nine, the man invited to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Red Sox' home opener was none other than Arthur Dixwell. The photograph (6 x 3 inches) is affixed to a 9 x 5.5-inch professional photographer's cabinet card mount that that has a stamp for Boston's Elmer Chickering Studios in the lower left corner. Chickering was one of the most prominent of all Boston area photographers at the turn of the century and is particularly well known for photographing Boston baseball players. A newspaper clipping picturing a later day game at the Huntington Ave. Grounds is affixed to the reverse. The photograph displays exceptional clarity and is in Excellent condition overall. The slightly soiled mount has a tack hole in each corner and is in Very Good condition. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000/$1,500. SOLD FOR $1,292.50
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