Chris Siriano wants to get the hell out of Michigan. Even on a gorgeous fall day in Addison (population 627), with the leaves turning and the sun bright, Siriano—middle-aged, sporting a gray goatee and ball cap—can’t stop dreaming about the beach. “I raised my daughter by myself and everybody knew that when I got the kid to college, they could reach me in the Caribbean by email,” he says. “I’m done with Michigan winters, basically.”
Two barriers stand between the Benton Harbor native and moving south. The first is not unusual: A few years ago, Siriano married the love of his life, a fellow Michigander who didn’t share his interest in fleeing south. The second is more distinct. Since the mid-1990s, Siriano has owned and curated the House of David Museum, a 4,000-square-foot archive that tells the weird, hirsute story of the most popular barnstorming team in baseball history.
To describe the House of David in such forceful terms is warranted. For two decades in the early 20th century, a band of religious eccentrics from Southwest Michigan was one of the biggest draws in sports, selling out ballparks in big cities and small towns across the country. Baseball fans adored their aggressive style of play, vaudeville flair, and flowing beards—House of David players were forbidden to shave because of an obscure rule in the strict doctrine to which they adhered. More than any franchise of its day, the House of David skillfully exploited the American love of spectacle. Siriano, who has spent much of his own energy and money preserving their largely forgotten story, is convinced the fascinating artifacts he has recovered belong in the Wolverine State. … Read More
(via The Classical)
“Also forthcoming [from the Richard W. Couper Press] is a scholarly bibliography on imprints produced by the House of David, a Michigan-based communal religious society based known for its barnstorming baseball teams. ‘It’s a really authoritative work,’ Goodwillie said. ‘Hamilton [College] has arguably the best collection of House of David material in the country.’”