Madison Square Garden (1925)

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Madison Square Garden III
Madison Square Garden III.jpg
hand-colored postcard
Full nameMadison Square Garden
Location Manhattan
Coordinates 40°45′45″N73°59′16″W / 40.7624°N 73.9877°W / 40.7624; -73.9877 Coordinates: 40°45′45″N73°59′16″W / 40.7624°N 73.9877°W / 40.7624; -73.9877
Owner Tex Rickard
Operator Tex Rickard
Capacity Basketball: 18,496
Ice hockey: 15,925
Opened1925(94 years ago) (1925)
Closed1968(51 years ago) (1968)
Architect Thomas W. Lamb
New York/Brooklyn Americans (NHL) (19251942)
New York Rangers (NHL) (1926–1968)
St. John's Red Storm (NCAA) (1930s1969)
National Invitation Tournament (1938–1967)
New York Knicks (BAA/NBA) (1946–1968)

Madison Square Garden (MSG III) was an indoor arena in New York City, the third bearing that name. It was built in 1925 and closed in 1968, and was located on Eighth Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets in Manhattan, on the site of the city's trolley-car barns. [1] It was on the west side of Eighth Avenue. It was the first Garden that was not located near Madison Square. MSG III was the home of the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League and the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association, and also hosted numerous boxing matches, the Millrose Games, concerts, and other events.

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2018 population of 8,398,748 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 19,979,477 people in its 2018 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 22,679,948 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.

Eighth Avenue (Manhattan) avenue in Manhattan

Eighth Avenue is a major north-south avenue on the west side of Manhattan in New York City, carrying northbound traffic below 59th Street. While the avenue has different names at different points in Manhattan, it is actually one continuous stretch of road.

50th Street (Manhattan) street in Manhattan

50th Street is a street in the New York City borough of Manhattan. The street runs eastbound from 12th Avenue, across the full width of the island, ending at Beekman Place and carries the M50 bus line, which returns on 49th Street. The following subway stations serve the street, west to east:



Ground breaking on the third Madison Square Garden took place on January 9, 1925. [1] Designed by the noted theater architect Thomas W. Lamb, it was built at the cost of $4.75 million in 249 days by boxing promoter Tex Rickard, who assembled backers he called his "600 millionaires" to fund the project. [1] The new arena was dubbed "The House That Tex Built." [2] In contrast to the ornate towers of Stanford White's second Garden, the exterior of MSG III was a simple box. Its most distinctive feature was the ornate marquee above the main entrance, with its seemingly endless abbreviations (Tomw., V/S, Rgrs, Tonite, Thru, etc.) Even the name of the arena was abbreviated, to "Madison Sq. Garden".

Thomas W. Lamb American architect

Thomas White Lamb (1871–1942) was an American architect, born in Scotland. He is noted as one of the foremost designers of theaters and cinemas in the 20th century.

Tex Rickard American sports promoter

George Lewis "Tex" Rickard was an American boxing promoter, founder of the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League (NHL), and builder of the third incarnation of Madison Square Garden in New York City. During the 1920s, Tex Rickard was the leading promoter of the day, and he has been compared to P. T. Barnum and Don King. Sports journalist Frank Deford has written that Rickard "first recognized the potential of the star system." Rickard also operated several saloons, hotels, and casinos, all named Northern and located in Alaska, Nevada, and Canada.

Stanford White architect

Stanford White was an American architect. He was also a partner in the architectural firm McKim, Mead & White, the frontrunner among Beaux-Arts firms. He designed many houses for the rich as well as numerous public, institutional, and religious buildings. His design principles embodied the "American Renaissance".

The arena, which opened on December 15, 1925, was 200 feet (61 m) by 375 feet (114 m), with seating on three levels, and a maximum capacity of 18,496 spectators for boxing. [1] It had poor sight lines, especially for hockey, and fans sitting virtually anywhere behind the first row of the side balcony could count on having some portion of the ice obstructed. The fact that there was poor ventilation and that smoking was permitted often led to a haze in the upper portions of the Garden.

Seating capacity number of people who can be seated in a specific space, in terms of both the physical space available, and limitations set by law

Seating capacity is the number of people who can be seated in a specific space, in terms of both the physical space available, and limitations set by law. Seating capacity can be used in the description of anything ranging from an automobile that seats two to a stadium that seats hundreds of thousands of people. The largest sporting venue in the world, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, has a permanent seating capacity for more than 235,000 people and infield seating that raises capacity to an approximate 400,000.

In its history, Madison Square Garden III was managed by Rickard, John S. Hammond, William F. Carey, General John Reed Kilpatrick, Ned Irish and Irving Mitchell Felt. [1] It was eventually replaced by the current Madison Square Garden.

John S. Hammond American businessman

Col. John Stevens Hammond was an original sponsor and the first president of the New York Rangers franchise in the National Hockey League (NHL) in the United States.

Edward S. Irish was an American basketball promoter and one of the key figures in popularizing professional basketball. He was the president of the New York Knicks from 1946 to 1974. He was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1964.

Irving Mitchell Felt was a New York businessman who led the drive in the 1960s to build a new Madison Square Garden.



Bulldogging champion Cowboy Morgan Evans competition chit at Madison Square Garden's 1928 World Series Rodeo Cowboy Evans World Series Rodeo CONTESTANT.jpg
Bulldogging champion Cowboy Morgan Evans competition chit at Madison Square Garden's 1928 World Series Rodeo


Boxing was Madison Square Garden III's principal claim to fame. The first bout took place on December 8, 1925, a week before the arena's official opening. On January 17, 1941, 23,190 people witnessed Fritzie Zivic's successful welterweight title defense against Henry Armstrong, still the largest crowd for any of the Gardens. [3]

Fritzie Zivic American boxer

Fritzie Zivic, born as Ferdinand Henry John Zivcich, was an American boxer who held the world welterweight championship from October 4, 1940, until July 29, 1941. His managers included Luke Carney, and later, after 1942, Louis Stokan.

Henry Armstrong American boxer

Henry Jackson Jr. was an American professional boxer and a world boxing champion who fought under the name Henry Armstrong.


The New York Rangers, owned by the Garden's owner Tex Rickard, got their name from a play on words involving his name: Tex's Rangers. However, the Rangers were not the first NHL team to play at the Garden; the New York Americans had begun play in 1925 and in fact, officially opened the Garden by losing to the Montreal Canadiens, 3-1 [1] and were so tremendously successful at the gate that Rickard wanted his own team as well. The Rangers were founded in 1926, playing their first game in the Garden on November 16, 1926, [1] and both teams played at the Garden until the Americans suspended operations in 1942 due to World War II. In the meantime, the Rangers had usurped the Americans' commercial success with their own success on the ice, winning three Stanley Cups between 1928 and 1940. The refusal of the Garden's management to allow the resurrection of the Americans after the war was one of the popular theories underlying the Curse of 1940, which supposedly prevented the Rangers from winning the Stanley Cup again until 1994. Another alleged cause of "The Curse" stemmed from then-manager Kilpatrick burning the Garden's mortgage papers in the bowl of the Stanley Cup, as receipts from the 1940 Cup run had allowed the MSG Corporation to pay it off: hockey purists believed that the trophy had been "defiled", thus leading to the Rangers' woes.

New York Rangers National Hockey League franchise in New York City

The New York Rangers are a professional ice hockey team based in New York City. They are members of the Metropolitan Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The team plays its home games at Madison Square Garden in the borough of Manhattan, an arena they share with the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). They are one of three NHL teams located in the New York metropolitan area; the others being the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders.

New York Americans ice hockey team

The New York Americans, colloquially known as the Amerks, were a professional ice hockey team based in New York City, New York from 1925 to 1942. They were the third expansion team in the history of the National Hockey League (NHL) and the second to play in the United States. The team never won the Stanley Cup, but reached the semifinals twice. While it was the first team in New York City, it was eclipsed by the second, the New York Rangers, which arrived in 1926 under the ownership of the Amerks' landlord, Madison Square Garden. The team operated as the Brooklyn Americans during the 1941–42 season before suspending operations in 1942 due to World War II and long-standing financial difficulties. The demise of the club marked the beginning of the NHL's Original Six era from 1942 to 1967, though the Amerks' franchise was not formally canceled until 1946.

Montreal Canadiens National Hockey League team in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

The Montreal Canadiens are a professional ice hockey team based in Montreal, Quebec. They are members of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL).

The New York Rovers, a farm team of the Rangers, also played in the Garden on Sunday afternoons, while the Rangers played on Wednesday and Sunday nights. [1] Tommy Lockhart managed the Rovers games and introduced on-ice promotions such as racing model aircraft and bicycles around the arena, figure skating acts Shipstads & Johnson Ice Follies and Sonja Henie, and a skating grizzly bear. [4]


The first professional basketball game was played in the 50th Street Garden on December 6, 1925, nine days before the arena officially opened. It pitted the Original Celtics against the Washington Palace Five; the Celtics won 35-31. [1] The New York Knicks debuted there in 1946, although if there was an important college game, they played in the 69th Regiment Armory. [1] MSG III also hosted the NBA All-Star Game in 1954, 1955 and 1968.

In 1931, a college basketball triple header to raise money for Mayor Jimmy Walker's Unemployment Relief Fund was highly successful. In 1934, Ned Irish began promoting a successful series of college basketball double headers at the Garden featuring a mix of local and national schools. MSG III began hosting the National Invitation Tournament annually in 1938, and hosted seven NCAA men's basketball championship finals between 1943 and 1950. On February 28, 1940, Madison Square Garden hosted the first televised basketball games in a Fordham-Pitt and Georgetown-NYU doubleheader. A point shaving scandal involving games played at the Garden led the NCAA to reduce its use of the Garden, and caused some schools, including 1950 NCAA and NIT Champion City College of New York (CCNY), to be banned from playing at the Garden. [5]

Professional wrestling

Capitol Wrestling Corporation—along with its successor, the World Wide Wrestling Federation—promoted professional wrestling at the Garden during its last two decades. Toots Mondt and Jess McMahon owned CWC, which initially promoted tag team wrestling. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Mondt and McMahon were successful at promoting ethnic heroes of Puerto Rican or Italian descent.

Two especially notable events in wrestling history took place at MSG III. On May 17, 1963, Bruno Sammartino defeated "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers, via submission, in 48 seconds, to become the second ever WWWF World Heavyweight Champion. On November 19, 1957, the Dr. Jerry Graham & Dick the Bruiser vs. Edouard Carpentier & Argentina Rocca main event led to a race riot involving the largely Italian and Puerto Rican fans of Carpentier and Rocca. After the riot, New York City nearly banned professional wrestling and children under the age of 14 were prohibited from attending. [6]


From 1925 until 1961, Madison Square Garden hosted the Six Days of New York, an annual six-day racing event of track cycling. Upon its final running, it was the longest-running six days in the world with 73 editions.

Other entertainment

The Circus

While the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus had debuted at the second Garden in 1919, the third Garden saw large numbers of performances. The circus was so important to the Garden that when the Rangers played in the 1928 Stanley Cup Finals, the team was forced to play all games on the road, which did not prevent the Rangers from winning the series. The circus would continue to perform as often as three times daily throughout the life of the third Garden, repeatedly knocking the Rangers out of the Garden at playoff time. [7]

The circus acrobatics included acts in the rings as well as on the high wire and trapeze. One dramatic act which was only performed in the Garden, and not taken on the road with the traveling circus, involved Blinc Candlin, a Hudson, New York fireman, who rode his antique 1880s high-wheel bicycle on the high wire every season for over two decades beginning in the 1910s and running well through the 1930s.

Dog Show

The Garden continued to host The Westminster Kennel Club's annual dog show. This championship is the second longest continuously running U.S. sporting event (behind only the Kentucky Derby).

Notable events

Anti-Nazi rally in MSG III (March 15, 1937) MSG III 1937 Anti-Nazi Rally.jpg
Anti-Nazi rally in MSG III (March 15, 1937)


Demolition commenced in 1968 after the opening of the fourth and current Madison Square Garden. It finished in early 1969. When the third Madison Square Garden was torn down, there was a proposal to build the world's tallest building on the site, prompting a major battle in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood where it was located. Ultimately, the debate resulted in strict height restrictions in the area. The space remained a parking lot until 1989 when Worldwide Plaza, designed by David Childs of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, opened on the site of the old Garden and French Polyclinic Hospital across the street.

Cultural references

See also

Related Research Articles

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Madison Square Garden, colloquially known as The Garden or in initials as MSG, is a multi-purpose indoor arena in New York City. Located in Midtown Manhattan between 7th and 8th Avenues from 31st to 33rd Streets, it is situated atop Pennsylvania Station. It is the fourth venue to bear the name "Madison Square Garden"; the first two were located on Madison Square, on East 26th Street and Madison Avenue, with the third Madison Square Garden (1925) further uptown at Eighth Avenue and 50th Street.

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Capitol Wrestling Corporation Ltd. was an American entertainment company founded by Jess McMahon and Toots Mondt. Operating as the Capitol Wrestling Corporation (CWC), the company was originally a professional wrestling and boxing promotion and later became the sanctioning body for the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). The Capitol Wrestling Corporation is the precursor to today's WWE, run by Jess' grandson, Vince McMahon.

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Madison Square Garden Company company

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Madison Square Garden (1890)

Madison Square Garden (1890-1926) was an indoor arena in New York City, the second by that name, and the second to be located at 26th Street and Madison Avenue in Manhattan. Opened in 1890 at the cost of about $500,000, it replaced the first Madison Square Garden, and hosted numerous events, including boxing matches, orchestral performances, light operas and romantic comedies, the annual French Ball, both the Barnum and the Ringling circuses, and the 1924 Democratic National Convention, which nominated John W. Davis after 103 ballots. The building closed in 1925, and was replaced by the third Madison Square Garden at Eighth Avenue and 50th Street, which was the first to be located away from Madison Square.

Rickard is both a surname and a masculine given name. It is of European origin and it is closely related to the given name Richard and the surnames Rickards and Richards.

Tex is a nickname, usually for someone from the U.S. state of Texas. Notable people with the nickname include:


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 "Madison Square Garden III" on
  2. Schumach, Murray (February 14, 1968).Next and Last Attraction at Old Madison Square Garden to Be Wreckers' Ball, The New York Times
  3. Baker, Mark A. (2019). Between the Ropes at Madison Square Garden, The History of an Iconic Boxing Ring, 1925-2007. ISBN   978-1476671833.
  4. Miller, Chuck. "FROM ATLANTIC CITY TO TORONTO: The Boardwalk Trophy and the Eastern Hockey League" (PDF). Hockey Ink!. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  5. Nat Holman: The Man, His Legacy and CCNY."The 1951 Basketball Scandal" Archived December 5, 2007, at the Wayback Machine - The City College Library - City College of New York.
  6. "Wrestling Observer Newsletter, February 3, 1997". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved April 10, 2014.
  7. Even at the fourth Garden, games would sometimes have to begin as late as 9:00 p.m. to accommodate the circus.
  8. "From Haven to Home" Library of Congress exhibit.
  9. Billboard Music Week, March 13, 1961. "Daily News Jazz Festival, June 8-9"
  10. ""Rodeo", Richard Diamond, Private Detective, February 20, 1958". Internet Movie Data Base . Retrieved March 30, 2013.
Preceded by
Barton Street Arena
Home of the
New York Americans

Succeeded by
last arena
Preceded by
First arena
Home of the
New York Rangers

Succeeded by
Madison Square Garden
Preceded by
First arena
Home of the
New York Knicks

Succeeded by
Madison Square Garden