Crosley Field and the Corner of Findlay and Western

May 9th, 2010
by Byron Bennett

The corner of Findlay Street and Western Avenue hosted professional baseball from 1884 until June 1970.  Home of the Cincinnati Reds, the earliest ballpark incarnation at that corner, League Park, lasted until 1900, when the grandstand was destroyed by fire.  Portions of League Park undamaged by the fire, mainly seating in right field (the former League Park grandstand before the field was repositioned), were incorporated into a second ballpark, known as the Palace of the Fans, which lasted until 1911.   The following three photographs show the demolition of the Palace of the Fans in preparation for construction of a new ballpark.

Wrecking the Palace of the Fans (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.)

In this second photograph, the building in the background is the Oliver Schlemmer Co. Plumbing, Heating & Power Work building.  The concrete pillars in the foreground are what is left of the old League Park grandstand, which was also used as Palace of the Fan’s right field pavilion.

Palace of the Fans Grandstand Comes Down (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.)

If only you could go back in time and grab some pieces of the old ballpark before they were discarded.

Palace of the Fans Demolition (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.)

The third ballpark constructed at the corner of Findlay and Western was Redland Field, later known as Crosley Field, in honor of the Reds’ owner Powel Crosley, Jr.

Crosley Field "Home of the Cincinnati Reds" (J. Louis Motz News Co.)

The right field bleachers and grandstand of Crosley Field were located at the corner of Findlay and Western.

Crosley Field First Base Grandstand and right field bleachers (Fasfoto, Inc.)

Western Avenue ran parallel to left and center field while Findlay Street ran along the first base line.  Only a few of the buildings shown in this aerial view of Crosley Field remain now at the former site.

Aerial View of Crosley Field (Bell Block News & Novelty Co.)

The buildings fronting Western Avenue are now long gone, having been demolished for construction of I-75.  The same is true for much of the buildings surrounding the grandstand.  They were demolished to make room for parking at Crosley Field.  One notable exception, however, is the building shown at the bottom left corner of the postcard.

Building Located Just Behind Third Base/Left Field Grandstand

The building, with its distinctive tall, brick smoke stack, is located just behind what was the third base/left field grandstand and remains from the time of Crosely Field.

Front of Building Facing York Street

A brick wall that ran from the front of the building east along York Street toward the corner of the left field grandstand remains as well.

Brick Wall that Attached to Grandstand

Dalton Avenue now intersects the site, running from left/center field, through right field, to the former first base grandstand.  Several buildings constructed on the site pay homage to Crosley Field.  Phillips Supply Company, located on Findlay Street, has an address of One Crosley Field Lane.

Phillips Supply Company- One Crosley Field Lane

In front of the building used to be six red-painted wooden seats which have since been replaced by plastic seats from Riverfront Stadium.

Crosley Field Seats in Front of Phillips Supply

Also on the former site is Hills Floral Products, located at 1130 Findlay, near where that street intersects with Western.

Hills Floral Supply Co. with Crosley Field Plaque

In front of the building, where the right field grandstand once stood, is a plaque honoring Crosley Field.  Inside the front lobby of the building are pictures and artifacts discussing Crosley’s history at the site.

Crosley Field Plaque

If you take the time to visit the Crosley Field site, be sure to stop at the playground located where the left field grandstand once stood.  They may not play professional baseball there anymore, but at least you can sit on a park bench (or ride a swing) in the same location where fans of the Cincinnati Reds once sat to watch the game of baseball being played.

Park Benches Where Grandstand Once Stood

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Posted in Crosley Field, Ohio ballparks | Comments (3)

  • Avatar S. Curve says:

    I saw several games at Crosley in the late 60’s. The last game I saw there was in ’69, and that was the first time I made a point to see go to a park because it was scheduled to be torn down. I remember it feeling old and a bit dank, but I knew what was going up — the same type of all-purpose plastic bowl that my team, the Pirates, were planning at the time.
    Crosley didn’t strike me to be as welcoming as Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, but part of that feeling may have been based more on my familiarity and love for Forbes and the Pirates than Crosley’s shortcomings. I remember appreciating that Crosley had the great open views to the outside that the bowls could never successfully incorporate and to which the newer parks – starting with beautiful Camden Yard – have returned.
    I made my first trip to Crosley in 1968 because I wanted to see the Dodgers’ hot young pitcher Don Sutton. They were hoping he would ease the sting of Sandy Koufax’s retiring so suddenly after the ’66 season, despite having just posted a 27-9 record and a 1.73 ERA (and over 300 innings and 300 K’s!). Koufax was my favorite pitcher, but he retired without my ever having seen him live, so Sutton (who turned out not to be half-bad himself) was the closest I ever came to seeing my idol.
    Thanks for the memory, Crosley.

  • Byron Bennett Byron Bennett says:

    Wish I had seen a game there. Without a doubt it was one of the classic ballparks. Do you have any photos you took there that you could post?

  • Avatar S. Curve says:

    I wish I did.

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