Few people know that some important baseball was played in the Gowanus. And still more people don’t know that the legendary Brooklyn Dodgers played just down the street from where the Canal is now.
At the end of 19th century Park Slope’s Washington Park (J.J. Byrne Park) was a bit different from it is today. Part of the park was actually caddy corner to where it is now, across 4th Avenue and contained a baseball stadium. The players were even said to use the Old Stone House as a clubhouse. This stadium was first made from just wood, but later, in the early 20th century, some additional structures were added that we made of brick.
Just imagine a beautiful spring day walking to the corner of 4th Ave and 3rd Street to a game featuring the Brooklyn Atlantics, who would later become the Brooklyn Dodgers. –Keep in mind you’d have to step around construction for the 4th Ave Subway by 1908. The game would begin and the Atlantics/Dodgers would send baseballs flying onto 3rd Avenue. Gowanus was the place to be for baseball!
By 1912 the Atlantics were officially the Dodgers and their stardom had outgrown the small Washington Stadium. In 1913 the team moved to the well know Ebbets Field. The stadium was used for two more years for baseball games, but then remained empty until 1922 when Con Ed purchased the land. Con Ed tore down most of the wooden structure, but left the brick walls, until recently. In 2002 despite a plea by Society for American Baseball Research Con Ed declared it would destroy the wall. The demolition of the historic walls began in late 2010 and the last bricks are slowly being removed right now. Soon the last memories of this beloved stadium in Washington Park will be erased. Head to 3rd Avenue and catch the last glimpse of history.
Soon to be last brick of the wall
Wall from the old stadium
View of where the stadium entrance use to be