Everyone knows of the brief chess craze in the United States ignited by the rise of Bobby Fischer and his subsequent victory over Boris Spassky. I'm sure it will not be the last such chess flowering here in the States...but neither was it the first.
Here's a quotation I came across in the book Chess in Philadelphia, published in 1898:
First visit of Maelzel's famous Automaton chess player. Its unseen player was Schlumberger, who also played games in private with Vezin on this and subsequent visits of the Automaton to this city.
The arrival of the Automaton produced a chess furore which was unprecedented at that time, and as the result a club of over one hundred members was formed, with rooms in Sully and Earle's Gallery building, Fifth Street near Chestnut. This organization, however, soon went the way of all clubs.
And the way of all flesh.