Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Washington Park II - The Dodgers Return to this Reborn Park in Brooklyn

Following up on my short series of post from the past several of weeks covering the old ballparks of the Brooklyn Dodgers, I now take a look at the second incarnation of Washington Park - a stadium commonly known as Washington Park II.  Go here to take a look at my past stories on the former homes of the Brooklyn franchise.

As a point of reference, below is a quick guide of past Dodger home fields:
  • 1883-1891 -- Washington Park I
  • 1886 -- Grauer's Ridgewood Park
  • 1887-1889 -- Wallace's Ridgewood Park
  • 1891-1897 -- Eastern Park
  • 1898-1912 -- Washington Park II
  • 1913-1956 1957 -- Ebbets Field
*Please note that the dates above may not be exactly correct.  Various sources I found conflicted on this, so consider it approximate.  Also, it appears that the team played at several different ballparks during some seasons.
Washington Park II
(1907, pic via

Charles Ebbets took over the Brooklyn franchise after the death of team owner Charlie Byrne, and one of the very first things he did was move the team from Eastern Park back to a location near their original home at Washington Park.  Attendance steadily declined during their past seven year stay at Eastern Park, so moving back to an area that was closer to their original core fanbase was a no-brainer.  Unsurprisingly, those fans were elated.

Their new home would be bordered by First and Third Streets, and Third and Fourth Avenues in Brooklyn, and they would call it Washington Park in homage to the old stadium.  As you can see in the above map, Washington Park II was just a bit north of their original home.  Per Brooklyn
Work on the site began on March 24, with Maie Ebbets, daughter of Charles, turning the first sod. Building costs of $20,000 were shared by the Nassau and Brooklyn L railroad companies, both of which ran lines nearby and stood to gain a great deal of business. The club paid another $80,000 in expenses to move the team, but Ebbets said he felt "thoroughly satisfied with the prospect in view." This Washington Park featured a grandstand to seat 5,000, with 7,000 cheaper seats, and "unlimited" standing room. There was also room for 60 carriages to be parked. A stone yard and blacksmith shop were removed to make way for the ballpark.
(Image of Opening Day 1898 from the Brooklyn Eagle, via
(Image of Opening Day 1899 from the Brooklyn Eagle, via

Attendance rebounded in their new home.  Soon, capacity increased to 20,000 fans, a new team clubhouse was built and dugouts were installed for the players on the field.
(1907, pic via
(1909, pic via

All the while, Charles Ebbets crafted a plan to relocate the team.  Over the next several years, Ebbets would buy up plots of land in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn.  Then, when he finally owned an entire block he would build a brand new stadium to call his own. That day came in 1912, when he finally revealed his plan to the masses.  He would build a new steel and concrete ballpark for his Dodgers, and he would call it Ebbets Field. Brooklyn would play their last season at Washington Park II in 1912.
(from Bain News Service - The Library of Congress)

The above photo is from Opening Day 1908 at the outfield entrance at 3rd Avenue and 1st Street.  And below is a look at the greandstands behind home plate, pic via eBay bk.sales.

The Washington Park Wall

Did you know that a remnant from Washington Park II still stands today?

An old brick wall that runs half-way down 3rd Avenue and 1st Street in Brooklyn is said to be the outfield wall to Washington Park II.  Although, there is some debate among historians whether it is the original wall from the Charles Ebbets ownership, or the subsequent Brooklyn Tip Tops of the Federal League that resided there after the Dodgers left.  Nevertheless, it remains one of the the oldest pieces of a Major League ballpark to still be standing.  Below are a couple of screen grabs I took from Google streetviews.

Brooklyn Ballparks does an excellent job of reviewing the evidence and they conclude that the wall dates to 1914 - built by the Brooklyn Tip Tops.  Go there to judge for yourself.
(On 3rd Avenue, looking towards 1st Street)
(A view of the corner of 3rd Avenue on right and 1st Street on the left)

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *


  1. Thanks for the shout out for Brooklyn Ballparks :) The one date up there I'd change is Ebbets Field - the Dodgers were there in 1957. The Ridgewood fields - just barely across the line in Queens - were used for Sunday games, as blue laws were less strictly enforced in Queens than Brooklyn at the time.

    1. Thanks David... I can't believe I got that date wrong... I'm shaking my head right now wondering how I messed that up... your website is great and the research you shared about the wall was well done


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