When the Preakness began PREAKNESS '94

May 19, 1994|By Sandra Crockett | Sandra Crockett,Sun Staff Writer

Let's say you find yourself on "Jeopardy!" and this is a category: How Baltimore and Americans lived during the first running of the Preakness in 1873. Here's a study guide:

Answer: Bad. Really, bad.

Question: What was the state of the national economy that year? A large brokerage firm that had been financing the Northern Pacific Railroad collapsed. It caused a ripple effect in the economy and thousands of businesses went bankrupt.

Answer: Molded bodices, flouncy bustles, long hemlines.

Question: How did women dress in 1873? Not for comfort, that's for sure. Big bustles exaggerated the backside. Dresses grazed the floor. And no woman considered herself truly dressed without a hat sitting perkily on top of her head.

Answer: $11 and $1.75.

Question: What was the cost of an all-wool man's suit at Baltimore's Marble Hall Clothing House with a pair of men's calf garters tossed in?

Answer: "Around the World in Eighty Days."

Question: What's the name of the book people in Baltimore -- and everywhere else -- were reading? Sales of the novel by Jules Verne reached 1 million copies in 1873.

Answer: Six rooms and a cellar.

Question: What is the size of a home for sale on Lombard Street that was advertised in The Sun for $1,800? Rent in Baltimore was about $15-$18 a month for a house.

Answer: 12,000, Survivor, sunny.

Question: How many people watched this horse win the first Preakness in what weather?

Answer: A horse.

Question: No, not what's going to be running in this Saturday's Preakness -- but, what was the popular mode of transportation for the day?

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