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Scrabble street sign at 37th Avenue and 81st Street.

The word game Scrabble was co-invented by Jackson Heights resident Alfred Mosher Butts. [1]

A street sign at 35th Avenue and 81st Street is stylized using letters, with their values in Scrabble as a subscript. The sign was originally installed in 1995 but disappeared in 2008,[2] with a replacement sign put up in 2011.[3]

Alfred Mosher Butts[edit]

Alfred Mosher Butts was born in Poughkeepsie, New York on April 13, 1899 to Allison Butts and Arrie Elizabeth Mosher. His father was a lawyer and his mother a high school teacher. Alfred attended Poughkeepsie High School, graduating in 1917 and earned a degree in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania.[4]

Among the buildings he designed were the Charles W. Berry housing project on Staten Island and the Stanford Free Library in Stanfordville, N.Y.

An amateur artist, six of his drawings were acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art].[5]

Alfred Butts invented the game Scrabble and refined it with his friends, in the Community United Methodist Church, a church located on 35th Avenue between 81st and 82nd Streets. He sold the rights to entrepreneur and game-lover James Brunot, who made a few minor adjustments to the design and renamed the game "Scrabble."


  1. Kershaw, Sarah. "NEIGHBORHOOD REPORT: JACKSON HEIGHTS;Rewriting The Story Of Scrabble", The New York Times, October 1, 1995. Retrieved May 28, 2009.
  2. Ember, Sydney (15 July 2011). "For a Bereft Street Corner in Queens, a Red-Letter Day". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 November 2014. 
  3. "Historic Scrabble Sign Makes Triumphant Return To Jackson Heights". Queens Gazette. 26 October 2011. Retrieved 23 November 2014. 
  4. [1] New York Times Obituary
  5. Lambert, Bruce (April 7, 1993). "Alfred M. Butts, 93, Is Dead; Inventor of SCRABBLE". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 

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