"Down Time" for Silver Ball Tournament Players

Professional baseball was born in New York City in 1845 when members of the Knickerbocker Base Ball* Club formed and began formalizing the rules of the sport.  The game  has changed, along with its rules, uniforms and etiquette since those early days, but true baseball aficionados can see the game played in its original 19th Century form at Genesee Country Village & Museum‘s premier vintage baseball park.  Each year, a dozen teams from across the northeast gather in Mumford, NY to play the three-day round robin-style National Silver Ball Tournament.

In 2011, the tournament takes place from Friday, August 5 through Sunday, August 7 at Genesee Country Village & Museum, located at 1410 Flint Hill Road in Mumford.  Spectators can catch the games between between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.  Major Event Admission rates apply: Adult $16, Youth 4-16 $10, Seniors 62+ or students with ID $13, children under 3 admitted free.

If this article was of interest, you may also enjoy the Travel Maven’s 2009 Article on Genesee Country Village, the National Silver Ball Tournament and Laura Ingalls Wilder Day.

For more on Vintage Baseball, visit the Vintage Base Ball Association’s website.

*Baseball was originally written as two words.

Photo and text copyright 2011 © Carol White Llewellyn.


Last weekend, we enjoyed stepping back in time with a visit to Genesee Country Village & Museum in Mumford, NY, a hidden gem of the Finger Lakes region.

Girls from far and near joined the Laura Ingalls Wilder Look-alike "Prairie Parade"

Girls from far and near joined the Laura Ingalls Wilder "Prairie Parade"

This restauration village in Mumford, NY is the third largest living history museum in the country with as many buildings open to the public as in Williamsburg, VA.!  Chartered by the NYS Education Department, its goal is to preserve 19th Century architecture as a backdrop for interactive programs that bring history to life.

Time Out for the Silver Base Ball Players

Time Out for the Silver Ball Players

The weekend we visited was not only Laura Ingalls Wilder Weekend, but it was also the playoffs of the National Silver Base Ball Tournament (no gloves – ouch! – and unique rules, uniforms and slang) so there were even more people in period clothes than usual. Young ladies in bonnets and aprons sauntered the pathways amidst gents and ladies in 19th Century Baseball duds.

Children love the animals at the farms, including cows, turkeys and sheep

Children love the animals at the farms, including cows, turkeys and sheep

The village is spread out over 700 acres in three sections. The Pioneer Settlement is from the period 1705 t0 1830, the village center is from 1830 to 1870 and Main Street houses are from 1880 to 1920.  Buildings of these periods have been installed here from throughout New York State, and care is taken not to duplicate styles of architecture and to appoint them with authentic décor.  The village also boasts the original Nathaniel Rochester Homestead and George Eastman’s charming childhood home. 

Costumed interpreters enact the reality of the 19th Century

Costumed interpreters enact the reality of the 19th Century

Throughout the buildings, knowledgeable interpreters in costumes share stories and information about 19th Century everyday life.   At the potter’s, Maureen Ehmann explained the two types of pottery created here, (both on sale at the gift shop) and showed us the firing kiln.  Jim Nicoll, portraying the town’s peddler,  regaled us  with  tales about the life of the Yankee Peddler.

On this day, Jim Nicoll played the part of the Yankee Peddler

Jim Nicoll regaled us with stories of the Yankee Peddler

Wandering through buildings, it was fascinating to see the most humble of dwellings as well as several that were homes to the period’s rich and famous.  It was also interesting to see how the styles of furnishings changed over time.
A room on the octagonal Hyde House, circa 1870

Victorian furnishings were beautiful, but not very comfortable

This Italianate style house belonged to the Hamiltons of Campbell, NY

This Italianate style house belonged to the Hamiltons of Campbell, NY

Throughout the week and weekend, there are lots of demonstrations and hands-on experiences such as roping a bed, making a tin ornament, trying stilts, churning butter, playing tavern games, feeding the animals, helping in one of the kitchens and more.

Everyone enjoyed trying their hands, uh, feet at stilts!

Everyone enjoyed trying their hand, uh, feet at stilts!

If you want an ultimate reenactment adventure, you can even sign up to spend a weekend onsite participating in an authentic pioneer experience, customized to your needs!

Throughout their season, Genesee Country Village & Museum offers a variety of activities and events that are fun for people of all ages.  A free tractor-drawn wagon transports passengers around the grounds, and there’s an art gallery, heirloom gardens, several restaurants, and a wonderful Flint Hill Country Store that rivals shops in Williamsburg. 

The Genesee Country Village & Museum is located at 1410 Flint Hill Road in Mumford,  NY and is open from May 18 – October 18, Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Admission is $15 for Adults, $12 for Senior Citizens and Students with ID, $9 for youth (4-16) and Free for children 3 and under.

CLICK HERE for information on accessibility of the buildings.

You can also visit the John L. Wehle Art Gallery  or the Nature Trails only for $5 for Adults, $4.50 for Senior Citizens or Students, $4 for Youth and Free for children under 3.

If you enjoy historical exploration and hands-on experiences, you’ll love the Genesee Country Village & Musuem!