A view from Oregon Street : an analysis of ethnic sport and social clubs in Rochester, NY, 1880-1915




Hurley, Alec Sebastian

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This dissertation provides original contributions to the field of sport history at the nexus of place, space, and cultural identity. It brings together urban history, migration studies, and local community histories to understand cultural relationships in a dynamic and understudied city. Two questions underpin this initial foray. The first asks how the existing geography and urban layout framed the emergence of sport and physical culture clubs? That inquiry naturally facilitates a follow-up question, namely: how, then, did the presence of ethnic sport and social clubs shape the physical and cultural evolution of the city? The development of sport and urban centers in major urban centers in the United States, such as New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, and New Orleans, have been afforded substantial reams within sport literature. Literature on smaller industrial areas, which emerged concurrent with the advent of increased transportation networks across the Great Lakes in the forms of canals and railways, has been comparatively light. Roy Rosenzweig addressed that concern in his work on the labor history of immigrants in Worchester, Massachusetts, when he claimed, “the evidence from one medium-sized city can only resolve these questions in tentative ways.” He did, however, provide a caveat that if reliable data could be elicited from comparative cities, scholars could draw grander conclusions. Rochester fits the requirements for Rosenzweig’s comparative city.


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