Virtually every baseball fan knows that the Baseball Hall of Fame is in Cooperstown, New York. But what do we know about Cooperstown, N.Y.? I’ve been to Cooperstown a couple of times, though it’s been nearly twenty years since I’ve had the opportunity to visit the Hall of Fame. I thought I might take a few minutes to see what kind of information I could uncover about Cooperstown. Here are some facts I’ve decided to share with you:
1) Cooperstown is not named for the writer, James Fenimore Cooper (although the author did live and pen some of his stories, such as “The Last of the Mohicans,” in Cooperstown. It is actually named for his father, William Cooper, who founded this town in the late 1780′s (though it first became officially incorporated in 1812.)
2) Cooperstown Dreams Park was established in 1996, and the Youth Baseball League it serves features up to 1,350 teams competing per season. The season lasts from the end of May until the end of August.
3) The population of Cooperstown is 1,833, down nearly ten percent since the year 2000. The population of Cooperstown is 91% white. There are six black families and one resident of full-blooded Native-American ancestry. Females outnumber males 55% to 45%. There is one registered sex offender in town limits.
4) About one-quarter of the people of Cooperstown walk to work. That’s very cool, except in the winter.
5) Approximately 35% of the population are affiliated with a religious congregation. Nationally, about 51% of Americans are affiliated with a particular religious congregation. A plurality in Cooperstown are Catholics (43%.)
6) The most common first name among deceased individuals in Cooperstown is Mary. The most common last name among deceased individuals is Smith. I would suggest that if your name is Mary Smith, you might want to avoid Cooperstown. On the other hand, you would have a life expectancy of 81.5 years old.
7) The first speeding ticket issued in Cooperstown was given out in 1906.
8) No one born in Cooperstown has ever played Major League baseball.
9) Company G of the 176th Infantry Regiment of New York was recruited from Otsego County (in which Cooperstown is located), as well as a few of the other surrounding counties. They saw action in Virginia, North Carolina and Louisiana. The majority of casualties this regiment suffered occurred at the Battle of Cedar Creek in Virginia in 1864.
10) The last public hanging in Cooperstown took place in December 1827. The man condemned to death was a first cousin of James Fenimore Cooper named Levi Kelley, convicted of killing his tenant, Abraham Spafard. While the hangman was putting the noose around Kelley’s neck, the grandstand collapsed under the weight of the crowd of onlookers, killing one person and mortally wounding another. The execution, however, went on as scheduled.