Monday, April 6, 2009

Maybe It Was Something In The Water

A match game of base ball was played on Friday last, between the Kunstausstellungsgebaude and Magnolia clubs of this place, in which the former got beaten.  That name is enough to beat anything.
-The Edwardsville Intelligencer, May 19, 1870

So what's the deal with club names in Edwardsville.  First there was the Chargoggaggogmanchoggogogg and here's the Kunstausstellungsgebaude.  It's all fun and games until you have to type it out.  I will say that at least Kunstausstellungsgebaude appears to be a real word.  I played around with a German-English dictionary but couldn't figure out what it means.   


David Ball said...

Kunstausstellungsgebaude would be "art exhibition building." It's a considerably less artificial word in German than Chargoggaggogmanchoggogogg is in English. German combines what we would make phrases (such as "art exhibition building") into one compound word. You wouldn't find "art exhibition building" in a dictionary, but it's not hard to interpret, and exactly the same is true of Kunstausstellungsgebaude.

Were there a lot of Germans in Edwardsville? And do you have any idea why an art exhibition would have its own club?

Jeffrey Kittel said...

Thanks, David. I appreciate the translation. I know enough German that I recognized it as a compound word but not enough to break it down and translate it.

There is certainly a great number of people of German ancestry in the area and probably more Germans than anything else (with Irish a close second). There were books published in Germany during the 1820s and 30s by German immigrants to StL comparing the area to the Rhineland and telling everyone to move here. By 1860, there was a large population of German immigrants in the area and they were an influencial pro-Union political (and military) force during the war years and staunch Republicans during the Reconstruction era. German culture is pervasive in the StL and a rather large part of the identity of the area. I've always said that you can't throw a rock in this area without hitting a German.

I'm going to look and see what I can find about any "art exhibition building" in Edwardsville and why they might have a baseball club.

David Ball said...

Of course, I should've realized Germans would have been ubiquitous anywhere in the vicinity of St. Louis.

I'm not sure whether "art museum" might be a more natural translation. But on Google I found references to a Kunstausstellungsgebaude in Munich, a Kunstausstellungsgebaude in Hamburg, yet strangely no mention of a Kunstausstellungsgebaude in Edwardsville, Illinois.