Newspaper Items

Newspaper articles on billiards while plentiful, are difficult to find today. We will be adding newspaper headlines that are avaliable for viewing for a small scanning fee. Simply choose a year that interests you and browse our headline selection.

1940


An article about Bensinger's Billiards- the most famous of all billiard rooms ever. I am not sure of the date or even the year at this point. Anyone out there remember the year Bensinger's moved into Clark and Broadway? Email me if you do, and enjoy the article.

Billiard Hall To Close and Move North- "The Room," the oldest continuous, established floating studio in the history of American billiards- cushions, straight rail, caroms, Kelly, bottle, snooker, take your choice, men- will close tonight at midnight.

"The Room," of course, as all good Chicago cueists know, is the second floor billiards establishment operated by Norman E. Bensinger at 29 E. Randolph st. since it shifted locus operandi from its fames base at 131 S. Wabash av. The latter address was the scene of numerous world championship competitions among such stars as Willie Hoppe, Jake Schaefer, Welker Cochran, Johnny Layton, Ralph Greenleaf, and Willie Mosconi.

"This is no obituary notice," said the 73 year old Bensinger yesterday, as he announced, "The Room will go on forever. Sure we'll be back. That fire next door on July 2 is the reason for our closing up Thursday night. It'll probably take until thanksgiving, but The Room will be busy again at its new location on the lower level of the Rienzi building, at Diversey and Broadway."

It'll be 4th Home- The new north side location will mark the fourth in a series of homes for "The Room," begun 56 years ago by the late Louis A. Bensinger, father of Norman, who began the loop billiards dynasty by opening his first establishment upstairs of Henrici's Restaurant on Randolph street.

Bensinger Pere's pioneering efforts flourished so prosperously in the years from 1905 to 1908 that he moved "The Room" from the Henrici locale to 73 W. Monroe st. Another venture of the enterprising Bensingers was leasing of Musey's famed billiard rooms at 67 W. Madison st. But it was at the 73 W. Monroe st. address that our town's cue and ivory devotees enjoyed their own games and the championship stroking of Hoppe the Younger and his peers of those days, Jake Schaefer Sr., Maurice Vignaux, George Sutton, Alfredo de Oro, George Slosson, and Ora Morningstar.

Mosconi Make Debut- The Room achieved the biggest chunk of its long success when it was opened October 28, 1929 by Norman Bensinger on the fourth floor of the building at 131 S. Wabash av. Here the young Willie Mosconi, greatest of the pockets artists, made his debut in 1931 against such of his elders as Ralph Greenleaf, Erwin Rudolph, and Andrew Ponzi.

Here the peerless Hoppe collapsed with a fever of 104 degrees during a challenge match against Jake Schaefer Jr., spent days in St. Lukes hospital, then returned to win 13 matches running and his umpteenth world three cushion title.

Here, in The Room at 131 S. Wabash the late Welker Cochran ran and broke the world record at three cushions by runnung 60 points in 20 innings in a challenge match against Hoppe.

The Wabash avenue room was abandoned in May of 1948, and moved on to the 29 W. Randolph st. address. The Bensingers have made the Randolph street establishment a Loop landmark for billiards and bowling since October 2, 1911. In the last 13 years, the Randolph street location has carried on the Bensinger tradition of providing modern facilities for the ancient pastime and for numerous exhibitions by Willie Hoppe in the twilight of his career and by Willie Mosconi after he retired as the undefeated world champion of pocket billiards.

The new north side home of the Room will boast 30 tables, 28 of them survivors of the 13 year stand at 29 W. Randolph. "So shed no tears, fellas," Bensinger said yesterda as he prepared to hang up his cue at Randolph Street, "The Room will be back."


Illustration from Frank Leslie's Newspaper, March 1, 1890. This page is titled "The Grand Billiard Tournament- The Leading Players At Practice"


Return to Collecting Page