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John Roleke

Scrabble Avenue: Scrabble Invented in Jackson Heights

By September 13, 2004

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The street sign at the corner of 35th Avenue and 81st Street in Jackson Heights has some unusual numbers. They're actually Scrabble letter values, totalling 14 points, in honor of the game's inventor, Alfred Mosher Butts.

Butts, a Jackson Heights resident, masterminded the word game in the 1930s, calling it Lexiko (and later Criss-Cross Words). Unfortunately, he never benefited financially from what would become the second all-time favorite U.S. board game. In 1948 he ceded all rights to Mr. and Mrs. James Burnot, who renamed it Scrabble.

Butts perfected the game at Community Methodist Church, located on the corner of 35th Avenue and 81st Street, where a Scrabble club still meets. If you're a fan of the game, pay homage at this quiet, quirky spot of Scrabble history (and shocking display of NYC Department of Transportation creativity).
More: Jackson Heights Profile
More: Tour of Jackson Heights
More: Scrabble Resources


June 23, 2006 at 5:43 pm
(1) Mitch B says:

It is Alfred Mosher Butts, not Moshe.

June 23, 2006 at 10:33 pm
(2) queens says:


February 7, 2008 at 11:23 am
(3) fat lady sings says:

what did musher butts invent?this should be awnsered now!!!!!!!report due tommorrow send yo fat lady sings.org

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