A few weeks ago I made a trip to the Minnesota Historical Society for an evening of 15-2 research. I had no idea what I’d find, except I anticipated that somewhere in the past 100 years of history in the land of 10,000 lakes cribbage would be mentioned/highlighted/featured in local newspapers and other media. I wasn’t disappointed.
What a pair of jaunty fellows! The back of the photo tell us everything we need to know. The gentleman on the left in the 3-piece suit with a cigar dangling from his fingers is Morris Hursh of St. Paul; the taller gentleman on the right, sporting a schoolboy grin and a corncob pipe, is Fred Greenwald of St. Cloud. If I looked that good after winning something, I’d be smiling too. The trophy reads “United States National Cribbage Doubles Championship.” So here’s my question:
If the ACC (American Cribbage Congress) wasn’t formed until about 1980, was there already a national league of organized competition? I haven’t come across one in any of my research. But the plot thickens: after the Star Tribune article was published on November 27, I received an email from one Bruce W., an expatriate of St. Paul now residing in California. He sent a few photos, and writes:
This board was made by a Mr. Basil in the 700 block of Laurel Ave in the 30s and given to my dad. This is the board I learned on. The medal was my dad’s, 1942 city champion, The Cribbage Club of St Paul Inc.
Hmm. Indeed. A Twin City mystery and a handsome medal. When I met Peter Leach, he showed me another board made by an artist on Laurel Avenue; was it Mr. Basil? Who was Mr. Basil? What happened to the St. Paul Cribbage Club?
The Minnesota Historical Society photo is from 1941; this medal is dated 1942. I know Laurel Avenue well; there are several apartment buildings built well before that time. Maybe it’s worth a trip to the management company to check old files?
Elementary, my dear cribbage players. If anyone can contribute more clues, questions, quotes, or quips, maybe we’ll get to the bottom of this conundrum. The game is afoot!