South End Grounds
A.K.A. Walpole Street Grounds, Union Baseball Grounds, Boston Baseball Grounds
||S E Grounds I
||S E Grounds II
||S E Grounds III|
||Boston Braves - A.K.A. Red Caps, Doves, Rustlers, Beaneaters, Bees (NL, 1876-1914)
||May 16, 1871
||May 25, 1888
||July 20, 1894
||Sep. 10, 1887
||May 15, 1894
||Aug. 11, 1914
||Grass (all three ballparks)|
Atlanta Braves & Boston Red Sox tickets:
Location: Columbus and Walpole. Walpole ran behind home plate, Columbus along the 1st base side of the field. The New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad tracks ran along the 3rd base side of the field. Behind the outfield was a railroad roundhouse, and behind that was Gainsborough.
Dimensions: (South End Grounds III) Left field: 250 ft. (pre-1912), 350 ft. (1912); left center: 445 ft.; deepest left center: 450 ft.; center field: 440 ft.; right center: 440 ft.; right field: 255 ft.
Fences: (South End Grounds III) Center field: 6 ft.; right field: 20 ft.
Three baseball structures occupied the site known as the South End Grounds from 1871 until 1914. The original building on the site gave way to the "Grand Pavilion" which was a magnificent edifice that looked like something out of the days of knights and fair maidens. Boston's first and only double-decked ballpark, it burned down in the spring of 1894 when a rubbish fire set by several boys under the right-field bleachers spread and eventually burned a large part of Roxbury. The third ballpark to occupy the site resembled a castle from the outside, but due to financial constraints, was much smaller than its predecessor. It was intended to be more fire resistant than other ballparks at the time and served as home of the Braves for twenty years.
- Located across the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad tracks from the Huntington Avenue Grounds, home of the Boston Red Sox.
- The Great Roxbury Fire of 1894 began in the right-field bleachers of the South End Grounds II and went on to consume the ballpark and 177 other buildings.
- South End Grounds III was smaller than its predecessor because the previous structure had been underinsured and there was not enough money from the insurance claim to finance a new park of equal size with two decks.
- The Braves played at Congress Street Grounds from May until July of 1894 while their new ballpark was built.
- There was an incline in right field.
- The Braves played at Fenway Park from August 11, 1914 until Braves Field was completed on August 18, 1915.
- Cigar factory behind right field is still standing.
- Site is now occupied by the Ruggles Station on the Orange Line of the MBTA.
Recommended Reading (bibliography):
- Take Me Out to the Ballpark: An Illustrated Tour of Baseball Parks Past and Present by Josh Leventhal and Jessica Macmurray.
- The Ballpark Book: A Journey Through the Fields of Baseball Magic (Revised Edition) by Ron Smith and Kevin Belford.
- City Baseball Magic: Plain Talk and Uncommon Sense about Cities and Baseball Parks by Philip Bess.
- Diamonds: The Evolution of the Ballpark by Michael Gershman.
- Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebration of All 273 Major League and Negro League Ballparks by Philip J. Lowry.
- Lost Ballparks: A Celebration of Baseball's Legendary Fields by Lawrence S. Ritter.
- Roadside Baseball: A Guide to Baseball Shrines Across America by Chris Epting.
- The Story of America's Classic Ballparks (VHS).
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View of South End Grounds from the outfield courtesy of the Bostonian Society.
View from third base grandstand courtesy of the Franklin Digital Collection.
View from behind grandstand posts by Munsey & Suppes.
View of South End Grounds today © 1999 by David Munsey.
Updated June 2007
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