House of David Museum - Watervliet, Michigan
The House of David was an apocalyptic cult that formed a commune community which focused on clean, hirsute living, celibacy, and most memorably their minor league baseball team.
Founded in the late 1800’s on 1,000 acres of land, the new society farmed and developed a shockingly sophisticated series of services such as their own electricity, cold storage, and cannery. However the House of David is likely best remembered for its shockingly successful baseball teams.
The community’s founder was a big sports fan and believed that such endeavors were good for both the body and the soul. Starting in 1913, the commune had started playing competitive baseball and within just a couple of years, the players had fallen into a strict training regimen. By the 1920’s the House of David players had become a fairly famous “barnstorming” sensation, traveling around and playing exhibition matches. Many of the players caught the attention of the major leagues, but the House of David forbid the cutting of their hair, so the trademark beards that made the team recognizable also made them unfit to move up to the pros. Despite the bearded ceiling, the teams managed to gain a great deal of notoriety and some teams even took on professional players who would grow a beard or sometimes even wear fake beards in solidarity with their teammate’s religion.
Visit the House of David Museum for its full history, on Atlas Obscura…