Winter is upon us, that means it’s time for a new installment of our quarterly pocket notebook release.  This edition rings (no pun intended) especially close to our family.  Joe Gans, perhaps one of the most historically relevant Baltimoreans to have lived. Not only did Joe grace the boxing world with his scientific approach to pugilism, but opened the door to Baltimoreans of all races and creeds to enjoy his vibrant establishment, The Goldfield.  For many of you reading this, his name is unfamiliar, we hope to change that!


Joe​ ​Gans,​ ​boxing’s​ ​Old​ ​Master,​ ​was​ ​born​ ​in​ ​Baltimore​ ​in​ ​1874.​ ​Gans​ ​was​ ​the​ ​first 

African-American​ ​to​ ​hold​ ​a​ ​world​ ​boxing​ ​title,​ ​which​ ​he​ ​held​ ​from​ ​1902-1908.​ ​On​ ​Labor​ ​Day​ ​in 1906,​ ​he​ ​defended​ ​his​ ​title​ ​against​ ​Oscar​ ​“Battling”​ ​Nelson​ ​at​ ​Goldfield,​ ​Nevada​ ​in​ ​what​ ​was billed​ ​as​ ​the​ ​Fight​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Century.​ ​Gans​ ​knocked​ ​out​ ​his​ ​opponent​ ​after​ ​forty-two​ ​grueling rounds​ ​in​ ​the​ ​desert​ ​and​ ​took​ ​one​ ​third​ ​of​ ​the​ ​$11,000​ ​purse​ ​home​ ​to​ ​Baltimore.​ ​In​ ​Monument City,​ ​he​ ​opened​ ​the​ ​Goldfield​ ​Hotel​ ​at​ ​Lexington​ ​and​ ​Colvin​ ​(present​ ​site​ ​of​ ​the​ ​main​ ​post​ ​office) downtown.  

The​ ​bar​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Goldfield​ ​regularly​ ​featured​ ​ragtime​ ​great​ ​Eubie​ ​Blake​ ​and​ ​was​ ​a​ ​favorite​ ​stop​ ​of Jack​ ​Johnson​ ​when​ ​was​ ​in​ ​town.​ ​While​ ​7,000​ ​souls​ ​turned​ ​out​ ​for​ ​The​ ​Old​ ​Master’s​ ​funeral​ ​in 1910,​ ​Gans​ ​has​ ​been​ ​largely​ ​forgotten,​ ​especially​ ​in​ ​his​ ​hometown.​ ​There​ ​are​ ​those​ ​of​ ​us​ ​who remember​ ​what​ ​he​ ​meant​ ​to​ ​boxing​ ​and​ ​to​ ​Baltimore,​ ​and​ ​we​ ​seek​ ​to​ ​change​ ​that.  

 

This has been the most enjoyable edition to make thus far, and we hope you enjoy it not only for it’s beauty, but for the historical relevance equally. 

Yours in writing, 

 

Chris Rothe

@WNPChris

 

 

 

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