In a search for America's current wooden baseball parks we need to go back to the beginning.
The very first ball park ever built was the wooden baseball park and it was constructed entirely from timber.
That first park was built in honor the game of baseball and would be followed by a breath taking array of Wooden Baseball Stadiums that were the predecessors of today's Modern baseball venues.
· South End Grounds
· National League Park
· Polo Grounds
· Recreation Park
· Orioles Park
These parks were among the first Wooden baseball parks built in America.
Starting as early as 1871 and continuing through 1902 there were over 27, professional, Wooden baseball parks built in America.
These parks, at the time, were majestic Wooden structures that, to many baseball fans, were bigger than life. They were the birth place of the game of baseball and like a child's first tree house they were indelibly itched into our memories.
By the early 1900s the construction industry shifted to the use of Concrete/Steel and Wood became obsolete in the construction of professional baseball stadiums.
Baseball stadium construction totally embrace the use of concrete and steel with the rebuilding of the, fire damaged, Baker Bowl in 1894.
These new, more permanent, structures were larger and adorned with more amenities than their Wooden forefathers but there was still something missing.
A special something that was only present within the confines of a Wooden baseball parks.
The game of baseball is an intimate sport and the fans come to look their hero's in the eye and be able to reach out and touch them.
These first parks were built to satisfy that feeling and allowed fans to become part of the game. The calming texture of wood gave the space character and made the parks inviting.
An inquisitive reader posed the question, "Do you know of any current wooden baseball parks still in use today?", and it caught me flat footed.
You would think that in this age of modern construction and high tech building materials that the wooden baseball parks had died completely with the birth of the Baker Bowl.
Fortunately, for us die-hard baseball fans, that is not the case, and thanks go out to Mike from Klamath Falls, OR, USA for his insightful question.
The answer to Mike's question, is a resounding Yes. The WPA has developed and provided a list of current Wooden Ballparks that are still in use today.
Who is the WPA? A look back at the Great Depression of 1929 we find America in financial shambles. To address the problem President Roosevelt passes a social stimulus program, WPA (Works Progress Administration).
Designed to put people back to work, this program would, single handedly, breath live into Wooden Baseball Park Construction.
The funding from the WPA put skilled workers back to work rebuilding America's infrastructure.
Parks and Recreation refurbishing was part of the New Deal and current wooden baseball parks would benefit greatly from this program and those funds are still being used today.
Stadium City/State Built Status
Liberty Park Stadium Sedalia, MO 1937 Amateur
Jay Littleton Ballpark Ontario, CA 1937 Amateur
Olympic Stadium Hoquiam, WA 1938 Amateur
Denton Field Miles City, MT 1940 Amateur
Civic Stadium Eugene, Or 1938 At risk of demolition
St. Cloud Commons Huntington, WV 1910 Amateur
Wahconah Park Pittsfield, MA 1919 Professional
Hicks Field Edenton, NC 1930 Amateur
Simmons Field Kenosha, WI 1933 Amateur
Recreation Park Wenatchee, WA 1937 Amateur
Quakertown Mem. Quakertown, PA 1938 Amateur
Kindrick Legion Field Helena, MT 1939 Professional
Ken Waite Field Aberdeen, WA ? Amateur
I would be totally remiss if I did not pay homage to the Wooden baseball Stadiums that gave birth to this article.
· Kiger Stadium in Klamath Falls, Oregon
Kiger Stadium has captured the magic and has built a love affair with the fans that harkens back to the days of old.
Unpretentious and straight forward this park is cherished by the fans who come to experience baseball the way it was before corporate sponsors invaded our space.
This park is a living example of how one of these current Wooden Baseball parks have survived a midst the onslaught of 21st century construction materials by simply giving the fans what they want.
If you have never spent an afternoon watching a baseball game in the warm confines of a Wooden baseball stadium you need to put it on top of your bucket-list.
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