A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from May 08, 2020
“The House That Tex Built” (Boyle’s Thirty Acres)

The boxing “Battle of the Century” between Jack Dempsey and Georges Carpentier couldn’t be held in New York State, so promoter Tex Rickard (1870-1929) built a huge octagonal bowl at Boyle’s Thirty Acres in Jersey City, New Jersey. The fight was held July 2, 1921, and Dempsey won in four rounds. A crowd of 91,000 watched, and it was the first million-dollar gate in boxing history.

“House That Tex Built For Big Titular Battle Advantageously Located” was a headline in the Edmonton (Alberta) Journal on June 28, 1921. “The House That Jack Built” is a traditional nursery rhyme. However, New York City would host fights at the Polo Grounds and Yankee Stadium (normally for the baseball New York Giants and New York Yankees) and Boyle’s Thirty Acres would be demolished in 1927.

The third Madison Square Garden (1925-1968) is usually remembered today as “The House That Tex Built.” The original Yankee Stadium was called “The House That Ruth Built.”

Wikipedia: Boyle’s Thirty Acres
Boyle’s Thirty Acres was a large wooden bowl arena in Jersey City, New Jersey. It was built specifically for the world heavyweight championship bout between Jack Dempsey of the United States and Georges Carpentier of France on July 2, 1921. It held approximately 80,000 fans and was built at a cost of $250,000. It was situated around Montgomery Street and Cornelison Avenue, on a plot of marshland owned by John F. Boyle.

Tex Rickard, the promoter of the bout, initially wanted the fight to take place at the Polo Grounds in New York City. However, Nathan Lewis Miller, the governor of New York, opposed prizefighting and indicated that he did not want a Dempsey-Carpentier bout to be held in New York State. After a number of offers from other promoters, Rickard settled on a proposal from Frank Hague, the mayor of Jersey City. Hague obtained a parcel of land owned by John P. Boyle, a paper box manufacturer. The site was once the home of the Jersey City baseball team.
By 1927, most major title bouts in the New York area were being held either at Yankee Stadium or the Polo Grounds. Rickard announced that the wooden arena would be demolished and in June 1927 the wrecking ball brought the short history of Boyle’s Thirty Acres to an end.

Wikipedia: Tex Rickard
George Lewis “Tex” Rickard (January 2, 1870 – January 6, 1929) was an American boxing promoter, founder of the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League (NHL), and builder of the third incarnation of Madison Square Garden in New York City. During the 1920s, Tex Rickard was the leading promoter of the day, and he has been compared to P. T. Barnum and Don King. Sports journalist Frank Deford has written that Rickard “first recognized the potential of the star system."[1] Rickard also operated several saloons, hotels, and casinos, all named Northern and located in Alaska, Nevada, and Canada.

28 June 1921, Edmonton (Alberta) Journal, pg. 15, col. 7:
House That Tex Built
For Big Titular Battle
Advantageously Located
Arena on Boy;e’s Thirty Acres, Where Jack and Georges WIll Clash Next Saturday, Is Greatest Structure of the Kind Ever Erected—Seats 70,000

NEW YORK, June 28.—The greatest arena Tex Rickard has built is ready to accommodate approximately 70,000 spectators when champion Jack Dempsey meets Georges Carpentier in Jersey City, July 2.

Since April 28, more than 600 workmen have been distributed over all sections of the huge octagonal saucer which grew daily under the tattoo of hammers until today, when their labor was completed. The great reinforced structure, covering nearly a third of the tract known as “Boyle’s Thirty Acres,” awaits the inspection of government engineers and the installation of telegraph wires through which millions of persons, compare to whom the 70,000 actual spectators will be numerically insignificant, wil l see the “Battle of the Century” through their minds’ eyes.

Twenty-five minutes from Broadway and 42nd street, a more advantageous site for the contest could not have been chosen.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Friday, May 08, 2020 • Permalink