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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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1909 advertisement. Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald
BOX BALL. Boxball, otherwise known as four-square, transforms two sidewalk squares into an outdoor version of ping-pong or, perhaps more accurately, a postage-stamp-sized game of tennis. Each player serves, volleys, and defends his square. The lines (or "cracks") around the concrete define the court; the seam between the two squares is the imaginary net.

Players choose or volley for first serve. Depending on the neighborhood, serve is maintained by winner of the volley or rotated every five points. In some games, only the server wins a point; others play so that either player can win any point. Twenty-one is usually the winning score, with the requirement of winning by two points.

The ball is slapped back and forth between boxes with an open palm. Slap the ball into your opponent's box; he or she returns it back to your box after one bounce or on the fly. If you step into the playing court, fail to return a shot, or if your return shot's first bounce lands out of your opponents box, you lose the volley.



"Box Ball," Online: http://www.streetplay.com/thegames/boxball.htm