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Cooperstown is a village in the Leatherstocking region of New York. The village is the seat of Otsego County, and has a population of around 2,000. Cooperstown was settled in 1786 by William Cooper, who later on was the father of author James Fenimore Cooper. The village was incorporated as "Otsego" in 1907 and was renamed "Cooperstown" in 1812.

Cooperstown was declared as the birthpace of baseball by sporting goods magnate Albert G. Spalding, who was convinced that baseball was an American-invented sport and worked tirelessly to find evidence of this until a letter from Abner Graves of Cooperstown suggested that General Abner Doubleday had played the first game there. While historians have since concluded that the first official baseball game, as determined by the adoption of modern-day rules, took place in Hoboken, New Jersey in 1846, Cooperstown is nevertheless regarded as the center of the baseball universe.

In addition to being the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown is also the home of the Farmers' Museum and the Fenimore Art Museum. Because of these museums, and the former Indian Museum, Carriage and Harness Museum, and Woodland Museum, Cooperstown has been called the "Village of Museums".


The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, on Main Street. The Hall of Fame was dedicated in 1939 by Lee Ferrick Andrews, who was the grandson of Edward Clark, the founder of the Singer Sewing Machine Company.



The Baseball Hall of Fame was established when a clerk for Stephen Clark suggested adding baseball artifacts to his folk art museum, since A.G. Spalding had declared Cooperstown as the birthplace of baseball in 1905. Clark proposed a National Baseball Museum to preserve the artifacts and relics of the sport, and when National League president Ford Frick found out about the idea, he suggested that the baseball museum be made a permanent Hall of Fame.



On June 12, 1939, the supposed centennial of the game of baseball, the Hall of Fame opened and inducted 13 members: Grover Cleveland Alexander, Ty Cobb, Eddie Collins, Walter Johnson, Willie Keeler, Napoleon Lajoie, Connie Mack, Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth, George Sisler, Tris Speaker, Honus Wagner, and Cy Young. Cobb, Ruth, Wagner, Johnson, and Mathewson were the first 5 inductees, being voted in in 1936 when the Hall of Fame was first proposed. The Alfred Corning Clark Gymnasium, built in 1920 and seen here, was incorporated into the Baseball Hall of Fame later on.



The standings for Major League Baseball are kept touside of the Hall of Fame, and are updated daily by hand.



The Estate of Edward Clark and Alfred Corning Clark, on Main Street. The land that was the estate is now part of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. The site was also where General George Clinton had his headquarters in 1779.



A game of town ball on Cooper Park, the grounds of the Baseball Hall of Fame and the site of Edward Clark's estate. Games of town ball, early forms of baseball, and informal forms of baseball are played on Cooper Garden by invited and special guests of the Hall of Fame to preserve the history of the sport.



A statue of James Fenimore Cooper, on a median in Fair Street inside of the grounds of the Baseball Hall of Fame. James Fenimore Cooper lived from 1789 to 1851, and his known for his Leatherstocking Tales and "Last of the Mohicans". The statue sits on the site of Otsego Hall, the house built by his father and the house where he lived from 1834 until his death in 1851.



Looking down Fair Street, through the gates surrounding the Baseball Hall of Fame land, towards Otsego Lake.



The Village Library of Cooperstown, on Main Street. The library was founded in 1796, and the current builsing was constructed in 1898, to be used as a library, museum, and YMCA.



Buildings on Main Street.



Businesses on Main Street.



The old Smalley's Theatre, on Main Street. The theater was closed in the 1980s, and is now a baseball souvenir store.



A baseball apparel store on Main Street at Pioneer Street.



The Otsego County Courthouse, on Main Street. The courthouse was built in 1880.



Doubleday Field, located off of Main Street and Chesternut Street.



Baseball has been played on the field since 1920, on what was once Elihu Phinney's farm. The field was built on the site of his farm because it was believed that Abner Doubleday played baseball on the site, and that the game was invented here.



No professional team has ever called Doubleday Field its home, although the independent Northeast League considered putting a team there in 1996. The suggestion was rejected, as officials and the public alike wanted the stadium to be home to all of baseball.



A grandstand was originally built in 1924.



The 1924 grandstand was replaced in 1939 with a concrete grandstand, which still exists today as it did when it was first built.



Doubleday Field has also added bleacher seats, which has raised the seating capacity to 9,791.



Doubleday Field does not have lights, and so games are played only during the day.



Semi-pro games and American Legion games are held at Doubleday Field throughout the Spring and Summer. Teams from around the country can rent the field to play other teams from around the nation.



Every year, the Hall of Fame Game is played at the stadium during induction weekend. The game originally featured old timer players, but now features players for two major league teams, usually from the team's farm system to keep major league players from getting injured. Additionally, the stadium has hosted onegame every year for the Short-Season A New York-Penn League game since 1991, with the nearby Oneonta Tigers serving as the home team.



The backdrop behind the outfield is reminiscent of old-fashioned baseball from the early 20th century, and which can still be found in a handful of minor league stadiums today.



"Sand Lot Kid", a statue by Victor Salvatore that stands just off of Main Street in a pocket park near Doubleday Field. The statue was dedicaed in 1939 and originally stood in front of the Baseball Hall of Fame, then was moved in front of Doubleday Field, before being placed in the pocket park next to the Doubleday Field parking lot.



Buildings on Main Street.



The old First National Bank Building on Main Street, now the Heroes of Baseball Wax Museum.



Businesses on Main Street.



The old Wilbur National Bank building on Main Street, which is still used as a bank.



Many houses in Cooperstown, like this one on Main Street, have been preserved because Cooperstown's isolation from large and medium-sized metropolitan areas prevented significant development in the past century or so.



A house on Main Street.



A house on Main Street.



A house on Main Street.



The Hotel Pratt, on Pioneer Street. The hotel was built in 1867.



A house on Pioneer Street.



A house on River Street.



Houses on Lake Street.



A house on Fair Street.



A house on Susquehanna Avenue.



Houses on Delaware Street.



A house on Beaver Street.



A house on Church Street.



First Presbyterian Church, on Pioneer Street. The church is the oldest in the village and was built in 1805.



A house on Elm Street.



A house on Chestnut Street.



Cooperstown sits at the southern end of Otsego Lake. The lake is 9 miles long, and geologically is related to the Finger Lakes, but is not consdiered to be one of them.



The Cooperstown Marina Lighthouse, at the marina at the end of Fair Street. The lighthouse was built in 1955 by the Lakefront Motel.



Otsego Lake from a park at Lake Street.



Looking out onto Otsego Lake.



At the eastern edge of the village, Otsego Lake becomes the Susquehanna River, and so Cooperstown is the source of the eastern branch of the Susquehanna.



Kingfisher Tower, located three miles north of Cooperstown on the east side of Otsego Lake. The tower was built in 1876 to beautify the lake and evoke a scene from Europe of castles on lakes.

 

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