General George Custer first came to Kansas in 1866 as Lieutenant Colonel of the newly formed 7th U.S. Cavalry. He spent late spring of 1867 at Fort Hays, where the 7th camped until they had accumulated adequate supplies and ammunition for a summer campaign. Time in camp was quite boring and to pass the hours, as well as keep physically fit, Custer commissioned the fort’s blacksmith, Thomas Kennedy to make this dumbbell for him sometime in 1867. It is made of bronze and weighs around 25 pounds. Custer’s Dumbbell currently resides in the Kansas Museum of History.
Here’s a rare look into The German Gymnasium, located at 26 St. Pancras Road, London, England, circa 1866. This facility was originally constructed by the German Gymnastic Society (hence the name) and used as the venue for some of the first organized athletic contests which later on led to the formation of the Olympic games. The German Gymnasium was designed by Edward A. Gruning and built by the firm of Piper and Wheeler. Even better: unlike most buildings of the era, this magnificent structure is still standing and in great shape (although not a gym).