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History of Cooperstown NY: Baseball and So Much More

December 6, 2019

If you've been to Cooperstown, NY, you will quickly learn that baseball is big deal here. But that's hardly all. Cooperstown is filled with historical landmarks to visit as well. Read our article on places to eat, stay, see, or drink during your visit to Cooperstown, NY.

If you love baseball, then you've heard of Cooperstown, New York, home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Cooperstown receives almost 300,000 visitors a year, most of whom visit the famed baseball museum. But baseball isn't the only thing that's come out of Cooperstown. Wondering what else happens in this scenic New York town?

From its founding family to the beautiful natural landscape, there are many reasons for planning a visit. Come along for a brief history of Cooperstown, NY, along with a guide for where to go when you visit.

It's All in the Name

The name Cooperstown comes from founding father and famous author James Fenimore Cooper's father, William. William bought the property in 1785 and named it the Village of Otsego.

It became the Village of Cooperstown in 1812. The Village is less than 2 square miles.  Born in 1789 in New Jersey, James was the second to youngest of William and Elizabeth Cooper's 12 children. He spent his childhood and a good deal of his life in Cooperstown.

James was a midshipman in the Navy and is famous for being the first American novelist. His career-launching book was The Spy published in 1821. One of his most famous novels is The Last of the Mohicans which was later a movie.

The Fenimore Art Museum

When you visit Cooperstown, don't miss the Fenimore Art Museum. The original structure was James F. Cooper's neo-Georgian 1930's home. The home was expansive with room for galleries, a library, and office space.

The museum houses a collection of American Indian art as well as folk art and photography. Do you love rare books and manuscripts? Don't miss the Fenimore Art Museum.

River Street Monument

There's a bronze marker at the foot of River Street. It commemorates the defeat of the British during the Revolutionary War. The beautiful river is the Susquehanna.  General Clinton and his men built a dam at the lake, raising the water level. Boarding boats, the troops then knocked out the dam, flying downriver in their boats.

At Tioga Point, they met more troops as well as some Iroquois braves. Together they defeated the British.

Glimmerglass District

Be sure and visit the Glimmerglass District of Cooperstown. Glimmerglass came from James Cooper's name for Lake Otsego.  The lake is 10 miles long with 20 miles of shoreline and has an average depth of 82 feet. James Cooper called it Glimmerglass in many of his novels. Take a bike ride around the lake or cruise in a canoe.

Pontoon boat rides are another fun way to see the lake, and each summer there's a Glimmerglass Festival celebrating the arts.

Where to Stay

The Inn at Cooperstown

If you're looking for a historic place to stay, then you'll love the Inn at Cooperstown. Noted architect Henry J. Hardenbergh designed this historic building.  The Inn is comfortable and elegant with spacious rooms featuring unique details. The standard rooms offer a queen-size bed. You'll find a wonderful blend of history with modern amenities.

Otesaga Resort Hotel

If you go during induction week, this is the place to be. There's only a few rooms available for the public at that time, so call early. This grand hotel is full of charm and elegance. It's an easy walk to the village and sits on a golf course.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame

Even if you're not a huge baseball fan, don't miss the National Baseball Hall of Fame that opened in 1939. If you love baseball, be sure you pack your favorite pins for trading! Trading baseball pins in Cooperstown is a popular tradition.

The museum is on Main Street. Don't miss the gallery that displays Jackie Robinson's award. It's in the same gallery with the awards of Ernie Banks and Sandy Koufax. It goes without saying that you'll linger over the artifacts from Babe Ruth! Born in 1895, the Babe was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1936.

The museum is home to over 40,000 artifacts donated by the players themselves. You'll see hats, baseballs, gloves, and bats. The museum is climate controlled for preservation purposes.

Beer Lovers

Are you a baseball fan and a beer lover? Then you'll be in heaven in Cooperstown. In the 1800s, Cooperstown was the leading producer of hops, growing 3 million pounds annually.

Stop by Brewery Ommegang for a taste of the real thing during your visit. The brewery makes its home on a former hop farm. Visit during the summer and enjoy beer tastings and live music. In the past, the brewery hosted standouts like Bonnie Raitt and Lyle Lovett.


You won't want to miss the wonderful food when in Cooperstown. Brewery Ommegang serves an enticing array of interesting foods while you're sipping your beer. The Blue Mingo Grill is another must for seafood on the waterfront.

If you're looking for something convenient and tasty, try the Back Alley Grille. It sits across from the Hall of Fame, so it's perfect after a long day at the museum.

The Grand History of Cooperstown, NY

The history of Cooperstown, NY, dates back generations and is full of interesting places and stories. Visiting Cooperstown is a must for anyone who wants to get a glimpse of the history of baseball.

Isn't it time you visited Cooperstown, NY? Looking for high-quality trading pins for your visit? Contact us today.

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