The Christy Mathewson House

The beautiful house located at the corner of Old Military Road and Park Avenue, although the address is 21 Old Military, is owned by Essex County Judge Richard Meyer and his wife, Gail. It was built for the famous New York Giants pitcher, Christy Mathewson, through fundraisers, when it was discovered that he had tuberculosis.

Old phone books are a great resource for information, so I found William and Lenore Meyer must have bought that home in the 1950s because there they were in the 1956 phone book, number 1294, and in the 1982 phone book, 891-3353.

After Bill and Lenore were married and her father learned the history of the house they had bought in Saranac Lake, he remembered this – getting into a taxi in New York City and putting a donation in a bucket to help build a house for Christy Mathewson. The stairs on the beautiful winding staircase off the living room have shorter risers, making it easier to climb, and the distance between the far corner of the living room and the bottom of the staircase is the same distance as from the pitcher’s mound to the batter’s box.

So what a thrill when I find the picture seen here and this story in the archives of the Adirondack Room of the Saranac Lake Free Library … dated 1946, but no month listed:

“Lieut. Col. Christy Mathewson who has been serving in the European theater of operations since August, 1944, has been returned to the United States for further assignment.

“Col. Mathewson and his wife, whom he met and married in England, landed in New York City on Wednesday. They arrived in Saranac Lake yesterday morning to visit his mother, Mrs. Christy Mathewson, Sr., of Park Avenue. (Note that the address was then Park Avenue, not Old Military Road.)

“The Colonel was activated in the Armed Forces in October 1941 and served at Luke field, Arizona, Thunderbird Field, Arizona and Santa Ana, California. At Thunderbird Field he was in charge of all Chinese pilot students training in this country.

“On reporting overseas he was aide to Gen. August Kissner, chief of staff of the AAF in England and later was assigned to the Strategical Tactical Air Forces. He served in both England and France.

“Following his leave Colonel Mathewson will report to El Paso, Texas, for further assignment.”

Christy Mathewson Sr.

The famous pitcher was only 45 years old when he died in Saranac Lake on Oct. 7, 1925. He was born in Factoryville, Pa., on Aug. 12, 1880. He graduated from Bucknell University, where he played football and baseball and was class president. He was selected to the Walter Camp All-American football team of 1900 as a drop-kicker.

He was nicknamed the “Big Six” and ranks in the top 10 in major pitching categories including wins, shutouts and ERA. He won 373 games in 17 seasons with the Giants, played in four World Series and in 1905 pitched three shutouts in six days against the Athletics. He was 6 feet 2 inches, weighed 195 pounds, threw and batted right-handed and was famous for his fade-away pitch. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936.

Now how is this for trivia? Mathewson was an accomplished checkers player who once defeated World Champion checkers player Newell Banks (information from the Google network).

When I was a kid, I used to play checkers by the hour at the kitchen table with my Grandfather Riley. He would drive me nuts because it took him so long to make a move. He had huge hands with big fingers, and he would reach down and almost make a move, and then lean back and study the board some more. After about a year of playing, I beat him once.