Have you ever heard the term "knuckle down?" If you have played a game of marbles when you were younger, chances are that you are familiar with the term. It's generally accepted that this phrase means to be focused and diligent. It comes from the practice in marbles of "knuckling down," or placing your knuckle (the one holding the shooter) in exactly the spot where your previous marble ended up.
Looking to the past for "new" games to play with your children or your friends is a great way to keep these wonderful games alive. Getting outside and enjoying fresh air is all part of summer. During the Duluth Staycation 2012, the Duluth Historical Society will show families games that will be familiar and others that might be a novelty, such as stick-and-hoop.
Stick-and-hoop (hoop rolling, hoop trundling) can be found as a game from ancient times and in various forms all over the world. You simply take a sturdy stick and a hoop made of metal, wood, or even plastic, and try to keep the hoop upright in a straight line with the use of the stick. It may sound easy, but it is rather tricky. This is a fun game to play with friends to see how long you can keep your hoop upright.
Marbles has been a staple game for many children over the years. In the middle of the 19th century, ceramic marbles began to be produced as an inexpensive alternative to glass marbles. The most popular game is called "ringer," where a circle is drawn and the marbles placed inside the ring. Each player has a "shooter," or a larger marble, and tries to knock out marbles from the middle without sending the shooter outside the ring. The first National Marbles Tournament began in 1922, and continues to this day.
Frisbees have an unclear origin in history, but one of the most popular stories include that of the Frisbie Baking Company (1871-1958) of Bridgeport, Connecticut. They made pies that were sold to many college students in the New England area, and students discovered that they could fling the tins and watch them sail over long distances. The plastic frisbees that are familiar to most came about in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
Come to the historic Strickland House on Fridays between 12-3pm to learn some of these games and more! While you are there, you can tour the museum, see the current exhibits, and view the Community Gardens. Admission to the museum is only $1 for children, $3 for adults, and is free for members. It's a great way to share some time with family and friends, as well as to meet your Duluth neighbors.