Tomorrow will be the 109th year of the Millrose Games the track and field tournament which was started by the employees of Wanamaker’s Department Store in 1908. Before the game’s move to the Fort Washington Avenue Armory in 2012, the Millrose Games was the longest running athletic event held at Madison Square Garden – surviving three moves of the Garden itself. About 220 winners of the Millrose Games are also Olympians.
This past week, we visited the Fort Washington Avenue Armory with Alberto Aquino, Director of the Armory College Prep Middle School Program at The Armory Foundation who walked us around the history of the building and its transformation into the track and field destination it is today. Here are some of the fun facts we learned:
1. Track and Field Has Been Part of the Fort Washington Avenue Armory from the Very Beginning
The Fort Washington Avenue Armory was built for the New York State Military’s 22nd Regiment, which had two previous headquarters downtown. Later the 22nd became the 102nd Engineering Battalion which became part of the National Guard. The cornerstone for the Fort Washington Avenue Armory was laid in 1909 and the building opened in 1912. Just two years later, in 1914, was the first track meet at the armory. Among the many events held here, the armory still holds the Big East Conference, the Eastern States, and the National Scholastic. Fun facts: in the New Balance Track and Field Center, the main event space in the former drill hall of the armory, is the fastest indoor track in the country and the jumbotron is larger than that of Madison Square Garden.