The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

James Naismith’s childhood home is now for sale

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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In the market for a new home? Unafraid of some chilly winters? Interested in owning a one-of-a-kind piece of basketball history?

Well, this may be the house for you.

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The Georgian-style three-bedroom, two-bathroom house in Almonte, Ontario, where James Naismith grew up is on the market for $1,195,000 Canadian ($1,170,000 USD). Built in 1850 but renovated to meet modern standards, the stone house sits on 45 acres of sprawling farmland replete with three barns.

Naismith left Canada to enroll in YMCA training school in Springfield, Mass., one year before he invented basketball in December 1891, but the farm house in Almonte is where he cultivated his interest in teaching physical education.

According to his biography on the Naismith Museum's website, Naismith excelled in all forms of physical activity as a kid, from chores to sports. He spent long hours every week chopping trees, sawing logs and driving horses on the farm at the request of his uncle. Then when the work was done, he spent the summer swimming, the fall hunting squirrel or partridge and his winter tobogganing and playing ice hockey.

One of Naismith's favorite childhood sports was known as "Duck on a Rock,"  a medieval game which combined tag and throwing. The high-arcing method of throwing a baseball-sized stone to dislodge the rock atop the base rock influenced Naismith years later when he incorporated that same idea into basketball.

If the seven-figure price tag of Naismith's childhood home seems expensive, consider what the two-page document on which he wrote the original 13 rules of basketball sold for in December 2010. A Kansas alum paid $4.3 million in an auction to ensure that document finds a permanent home on the Kansas campus. 

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