A.G. Spalding: Why Chicopee?

I was curious about a question last night: why did A.G. Spalding company, maker of sporting goods, locate themselves in Chicopee? The answer was very interesting, and is very intertwined with industry in the Pioneer Valley.

In the 1870's, A.G. Spalding was an outstanding baseball player. Originally from Illinois, he played professionally with the Boston Red Stockings of the newly-formed National Association. Spalding participated in the formation of the National League of baseball, and was signed to play with the Chicago White Stockings in 1876, returning to the midwestern US.

In Chicago, Spalding started a sporting goods store with his brother. He delved heavily into this venture, producing and selling many items related to baseball, including catching gloves (Spalding popularized them by wearing one himself). He published official rules for the sport, rules which specified that only official Spalding balls could be used in a game.

So why Chicopee? It turns out that one of the products that Spalding sold in his sporting goods stores was a bicycle, the Victor model, made by the Overman Wheel Company, of Hartford, but with a manufacturing plant in Chicopee.

Buchholz St

I grew up on Buchholz St. in Springfield which is now almost completly taken over by Mass Mutual. Does anyone know who this street was named after and what he did to earn a street?

Spalding Bicycles

Would like to know more about the bicycles. American Legion magazine article by Crutchfield mentions bikes supplied by Spalding to US army in 1880s.

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