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Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Venues Timeline and Historical Data — 1877 to 2021
Madison Square Garden

Venue Timeline

1877-1879

  • Gilmore’s Garden — The first Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is held at Gilmore’s Garden near Madison Square in Manhattan. The building, originally built by P.T. Barnum for his circus, was an outdoor venue with an oval track inside and canvas canopy to be raised over the arena in wet weather

1880

  • Madison Square Garden I – Gilmore’s Garden was renovated and renamed as Madison Square Garden. The building was located at Madison Avenue and 26th and 27th Streets in New York City

1881-1882

  • American Institute Fair Building — Due to a rent dispute with Madison Square Garden, the club moved its annual benched dog show to a new venue. The building, located at 3rd Avenue and 63rd Street in Manhattan, was formerly the Empire City Skating Rink

1883-1889

  • Madison Square Garden I — The dog show moved back to the Garden for seven years

1890

  • American Institute Fair Building — Madison Square Garden I had been demolished and its replacement had not been completed yet, so the dog show moved back to this location one last time

1891-1911

  • Madison Square Garden II — Famed architect Stanford White designed the new Garden with its cream-colored bricks and white terracotta in the Renaissance style. The main entrance was on Madison Avenue. On the 26th Street side, a 300-foot tower rose making it the second tallest building in the city. The tower was topped with a 13-foot bronze sculpture of Diana the Huntress by Augustus St. Gaudens

1912-1914

  • New Grand Central Palace — The New York Central Railroad built this building to cover the open railroad yards north of Grand Central Terminal. At Lexington Avenue between 46th and 47th Streets, the Palace had three exhibition floors. The New York Times said the pure white main exhibition space looked like “the architectural monuments of Greece in its palmy days.” 

1915-1919

  • Madison Square Garden II — The dog show moved back to this venue for five years

1920

  • New Grand Central Palace — The dog show came back to the venue one more time

1921-1925

  • Madison Square Garden II — The dog show returned to the Garden for the final five years of the venue

1926-1968

  • Madison Square Garden III — For the 25th annual dog show, Westminster moved into the new Garden located at Eighth Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets in Manhattan. Forty-three years later, the dog show would close Madison Square Garden III as the last event at the venue

1969-2020

  • Madison Square Garden IV — The latest venue with its iconic name is above Pennsylvania Station between 31st and 33rd Streets, and 7th and 8th Avenues in Manhattan. In 2020, Westminster celebrated its 100th consecutive annual dog show held at a Madison Square Garden

2021

  • Lyndhurst — Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Westminster moves its dog show to an outdoor venue in Tarrytown, New York. Lyndhurst, a property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is a 67-acre magnificently landscaped estate at the widest part of the Hudson River, just 25 miles north of New York City. The New York Times called Lyndhurst, “one of the most beautiful show sites in the country.”

 


Historical Data

 

Dog Show Venues by Year
Gilmore’s Garden – 3 (1877, 1878, 1879)
Madison Square Garden I – 8 (1880, 1883-1889)
American Institute Fair Building – 3 (1881, 1882, 1890)
Madison Square Garden II – 31 (1891-1911, 1915-1919, 1921-1925)
New Grand Central Palace — 4 (1912-14, 1920)
Madison Square Garden III – 43 (1926-1968)
Madison Square Garden IV – 52 (1969-2020)
Lyndhurst – 1 (2021)

Number of Dog Show Days
4 days – 43 (1877-79, 1881-1920)
3 days – 22 (1880, 1921-1940, 2020)
2 days – 79 (1941-1945, 1947-2019, 2021)
1 day – 1 (1946*)
*A tugboat strike closed the dog show after one day; but the club did complete the full two-day judging schedule at the shortened show

Dog Shows Held by Month
February – 133 (1888-2020)
April – 4 (1879, 1881, 1882, 1885)
May – 9 (1877, 1878, 1880, 1883, 1884, 1886, 1887)
June – 1 (2021)
October – 1 (1884**)
**Additional Non-Sporting breeds-only show held in 1884; the only time Westminster has held two shows in one year

 

 
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