South End Grounds is the most commonly used informal name for a
major league baseball park that was the home ground to the Boston entry,
first in the National Association of Professional Baseball Players, and
then in the National League, from 1871-1914. It was built or rebuilt at
the same location three times.
II: May 25, 1888
III: July 20, 1894
September 10, 1887
II: May 15, 1894
III: June 3, 1915
II: May 15, 1894
Braves (NA, NL, 1871-1915)
Field - 250 ft
Left-Center - 445 ft
Center Field - 440 ft
Right-Center - 440 ft
Right Field - 255 ft
Its formal name, as indicated on the sign over its entrance gate, at
least in its later years, was Boston National League Base Ball Park.
The ballpark was located on the northeast corner of Columbus Avenue and
Walpole Street. Accordingly, it was also known over the years as Grand
Pavilion, Walpole Street Grounds, Union Baseball Grounds,
or simply Boston Baseball Grounds).
The ballpark was across the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad
tracks, to the south, from the eventual site of the Huntington
Avenue Grounds, home to the Boston American League entry prior to the
building of Fenway Park.
to the site of the South End Grounds!
If you have Google
Earth installed, click here
to be "flown" to the site of the South End Grounds. Of
course the stadium is no longer there, but you can see the old
neighborhood. (If you do not have it installed, get
it from Google. It allows you to view virtually anywhere on
Earth in 3D using satellite imagery.)
The Boston club was initially known as the Red Stockings, because
many of its players had come from the famous 1869-1870 barnstorming team
known as the Cincinnati Red Stockings and took the nickname with them to
Boston. Over time the team acquired other informal nicknames, such as
"Beaneaters", "Red Caps", "Rustlers" and
even "Doves". This team eventually adopted the official nickname
"Braves", just a few years before abandoning South End Grounds.
Two franchise shifts later, they are now the Atlanta Braves, and are
the only surviving charter member of the original National Association.
Their original "Red Stockings" nickname lives on in three ways:
in the Boston Red Sox of the American League, who adopted it in 1908 after
the National Leaguers had given up their red trim briefly; in the
Cincinnati Reds of the National League, who reclaimed their city's old
nickname in the 1880s during their days in the then-major American
Association; and in the perennial red trim that the Braves wear in their
uniforms. It is noteworthy that of the various stadiums and ballparks the
Braves have called home during their 135 seasons to date, the South End
Grounds served them for the longest time period, 44 seasons. They also won
13 pennants (4 in the NA and 9 in the NL) in the park.
South End Grounds was rebuilt twice during its lifetime, the first time
on purpose and the second time by necessity.
South End Grounds!
The second South
End Grounds in 1893.
South End Grounds (#1)
The first South End Grounds was opened on May 16, 1871. The last
game was played on September 10, 1887. The ballpark's stands were
demolished later that month to make way for a new structure.
South End Grounds (#2)
The second South End Grounds was opened on May 25, 1888.
Sometimes called the Grand Pavilion, it was indeed the grandest of
the ballpark's three incarnations, consisting of a large double-decked and
grandstand with twin turrets behind home plate and uncovered stands
stretching down the right and left field lines, as well as bleachers in
right-center field. The ballpark sat 6,800 by one estimate. It was the
only double-decked baseball stadium ever built in Boston, unless one
counts the rooftop seating which has turned Fenway Park into a de facto
double-deck ballpark. The second deck was added as a result of the
popularity of the $20,000 Battery" of John Clarkson and King Kelly.
The stadium was destroyed in the Great Roxbury Fire of May 15, 1894,
which began when children started a small fire beneath the right field
bleachers during the third inning, and destroyed the stadium and 117 other
buildings. During the rebuilding process, the Bostons played some of their
home games on the road and the rest at Congress Street Grounds, where they
achieved some history in a short time.
The pair of pictures on this page are from this second "South End
South End Grounds (#3)
The third South End Grounds was built in ten weeks on the site
of the old stand and opened on July 20, 1894. Because the previous
structure had not been sufficiently insured, there wasn't enough money to
rebuild the stands according to its old plans, and a smaller structure was
built. Few photographs of this ballpark seem to be in circulation. In one
sense, the best known photo might be the one showing the opening game of
the 1903 World Series, with the Huntington Avenue Grounds in the
foreground; and the South End Grounds in the background, its season over,
partially hidden by smoke from the rail yards.
The Braves moved out of the South End Grounds after their game on
August 11, 1914 to accommodate larger crowds during the "stretch
drive" of the 1914 pennant race. The team continued to play at Fenway
Park until Braves Field was
completed during the 1915 season, a stretch which included their first
modern World Series appearance as they shocked the Philadelphia Athletics
in four straight games. The grass at the South End Grounds became so good
over the years that much of it was transplanted to the new Braves Field.
Current Land Use
The stadium was demolished after the Braves left. The parking lot
between Northeastern University's Columbus Parking Garage and Ruggles
Station of the Orange Line of the MBTA now stands on the former site of
the grandstand and the infield. The outfield was located where the garage
stands. An historical marker commemorating the South End Grounds is
located at Ruggles Station. The Boston Red Sox and MBTA frequently provide
shuttle service on game days from Ruggles to Fenway Park.
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SOUTH END GROUNDS
The original grandstands of the South End Ground before the burned in the Great Roxbury Fire of 1894.
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