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History of Jai-Alai

1798 The first indoor fronton was built in Marquena, Spain.
1898 Cesta punta was introduced in Cuba.
1904 The first Jai-alai fronton in America was built in St. Louis, MO during the 1904 World's Fair. It opened on May 15. However, after only two months, the Jai-alai operations ended and the fronton later became the Winter Garden skating rink.
1924 The first fronton in Miami was built as part of the Hialeah complex.
1925 The New Orleans fronton was built.
1926 On September 18, the original Miami fronton was destroyed by a hurricane. Jai-alai was first played professionally at the Miami fronton.
1927 Jai-alai began in Chicago at the Rainbo Fronton ( Rainbo Gardens).
1934 Wagering on Jai-alai was legalized.
1938 Jai-alai was introduced at the Hippodrome in New York, NY, but play only took one short season.
1947 Fronton Palacio in Tijuana, Mexico opened.
1953 Dania Jai-alai and Tampa Jai-alai opened.
1955 West Palm Beach Jai-alai opened.
1959 Daytona Jai-alai opened.
1962 Orlando Jai-alai opened.
1968 The use of helmets was mandated. A players strike led to the blacklisting of many players.
1971 Melbourne Jai-alai in Florida opened.
1973 Ocala Jai-alai in Florida opened.
1974 Fort Pierce Jai-alai opened.
1976 Hartford Jai-alai and Bridgeport Jai-alai, both in Connecticut, opened. Newport Jai-alai in Rhode Island opens.
1977 Milford Jai-alai opened.
1978 Big Bend Jai-alai in Florida opened.
1992 to 2003 Many of the major Jai-alai frontons in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Florida closed down.
2004 In April 4, the ground-breaking ceremony for Hamilton Jai-alai was held. It is the first new fronton in 22 years.

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