Posts Tagged ‘Turner Field’

Atlanta’s Other Lost Ballpark – Ponce De Leon Park

August 5th, 2013

Long before Turner Field, before Fulton County Stadium, there was a wonderful minor league  ballpark in Atlanta known as Ponce De Leon Park.

Ponce De Leon Park, Atlanta, Georgia

Ponce De Leon was the home to the Atlanta Crackers and Atlanta Black Crackers. The Atlanta Crackers played in the Southern Association from 1901 until 1965, and played at Ponce De Leon in an earlier incarnation of the stadium starting in 1907. Destroyed by fire in 1923, the stadium was rebuilt for the 1924 season.  The Atlanta Black Crackers played in the Negro Southern League and played at Ponce De Leon Park from 1920 to 1937, and 1940 until 1952.

Aerial View of Ponce De Leon Park

Located  at  the intersection of Ponce De Leon Avenue and Lakeview Avenue, less than four miles south of  the Braves current home, Turner Field, the former site of Ponce De Leon Park is a shopping center known as Midtown Place.

Midtown Place, Former Site of Ponce De Leon Park

The ballpark was demolished in 1966, the same year that the Atlanta Braves, having just relocated from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, began play at Fulton County Stadum.

Shopping Center Sign At The Former Site of Ponce De Leon Park

The stores at the site today, such as Home Depot and Whole Foods, intersect what was once third base and left field.

Whole Food and T. J. Max Built On Hallowed Ground

The most notable landmark at the former site of Ponce De Leon Park is the old Sears and Roebuck Warehouse at 675 Ponce De Leon Avenue.

Sears and Roebuck Warehouse Looming Beyond Ponce De Leon park (Image courtesy of Georgia State University Library (LBCB114-072b, Lane Brothers Commercial Photographers Photographic)) Collection)

The Sears warehouse remains at the site today.

Former Site of Center Field Looking Toward First Base, With Former Sears Warehouse In Background

Built in 1926, the former warehouse now houses offices of the city of Atlanta and is known informally as City Hall East.

Sears and Roebuck Warehouse

In addition to the former Sears warehouse, another notable landmark at the former Ponce De Leon site is a magnolia street that sits beyond what was once center field.

Magnolia Tree, a Landmark of Ponce De Leon Park

The magnolia tree remains from the days of Ponce De Leon Park. Two ballplayers are known to have hit home runs into the tree  during exhibition games, Hall of Famers Eddie Mathews and Babe Ruth.

Stone and Concrete Wall At Former Site of Ponce De Leon Park

Another landmark is a stone and concrete wall that ran along the parking lot, paralleling the third base side.

The Atlanta Crackers and the Atlanta Black Crackers may be long gone from Atlanta, but they are not forgotten. Located on the northwest side of Turner Field at Aisle 134 is the Ivan Allen Jr. Braves Museum& Hall of Fame which includes over 600 Braves artifacts and photographs, including some items relevant to Ponce De Leon Park.

Jersey of Former Atlanta Black Cracker James “Red” Moore.

Ponce De Leon Park was named after the avenue along which it sat.

Postcard “Ponce De Leon Base Ball Park, Atlanta, GA, ‘Watching The Game.'” (Published By I.F. Co., Inc., Atlanta, GA, C.T. American Art)

Of course, Ponce De Leon was a Spanish explorer associated with the legend of the fountain of youth. Ponce De Leon died in 1521. The ballpark that bears his name was demolished in 1966. Neither apparently were able to benefit from that legend. However, the several landmarks that remain at the site make a trip to the corner of Lakeview and Ponce De Leon well worth the journey.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Georgia ballparks, Ponce De Leon Ballpark | Comments (7)

Fulton County Stadium Makes A Great Parking Lot – For Now

April 23rd, 2010

Atlanta/Fulton County Stadium was the fourth home of the National League Braves and the first in Atlanta. The Braves two previous homes were Braves Field in Boston and County Stadium in Milwaukee.

Atlanta/Fulton County Stadium, Once Home of the Braves (Dexter Press, Inc.)

Once nestled at the confluence of Interstates 75, 85, and 20, Fulton County Stadium is now a parking lot.

The Friendly Confines of Atlanta/Fulton County Stadium and Interstate 75 (Scenic South Card Co.)

Unlike other lost ballparks, however, Fulton County Stadium is not quite gone or forgotten.  Portions of the old ballpark remain in the parking lot adjacent to the Braves’ current home, Turner Field.

Baseball Paradise Now A Parking Lot

The stadium’s outer retaining wall, now painted blue, marks the outline of Fulton County Stadium.

Fulton County Stadium Outer Wall

The blue outer wall marks the area from the right field corner around to the first base side of home plate.

The Right Field Corner

The infield, foul lines, and warning track are marked with brown pavers.

No Place Like Home

And if all that weren’t enough, the que de gras of the former Fulton County Stadium site is the portion of the metal, outfield fence marking where Hank Aaron’s record breaking home run number 715 cleared Dodger’s outfielder Bill Buckner and landed in the mit of Braves relief pitcher Tom House, who was standing in the Braves’ bullpen.

"There's new home run champion of all time and it's Henry Aaron" (Braves Announcer Milo Hamilton)

Hank Aaron at Fulton County Stadium (1972 Atlanta Braves Fan Photo)

In 1997, the Braves moved across Hank Aaron Street to Turner Field.

Turner Field, Home of the Atlanta Braves

The original plaque honoring Fulton County Stadium – Atlanta Stadium – is located in the plaza outside the main gate of Turner Field just south of Georgia Avenue.

Original "Atlanta Stadium" Plaque Now Located Outside Turner Field

Located on the northwest side of Turner Field at Aisle 134 is the Ivan Allen Jr. Braves Museum & Hall of Fame which includes over 600 Braves artifacts and photographs, including several items from Fulton County Stadium.

Turnstile from Fulton County Stadium

The Braves museums offers fans the chance to sit in Fulton County Stadium seats and relive Hank Aaron’s famous home run breaking Babe Ruth’s record of 714.

Stadium Seats from Fulton County Stadium

The Atlanta dugout is recreated as well, including the bat and helmet racks.

T

Recreated Dugout of Fulton County Stadium

Fans are free to have a seat on the dugout bench or lean on the railing.

Dugout from Fulton County Stadium

Former player lockers from Fulton County Stadium are used throughout the museum to display Atlanta Braves memorabilia.

Fulton County Stadium Player Lockers

The piece de resistance of the Braves museum is the actual ball that Hank Aaron hit over Fulton County Stadium’s left field wall to break Babe Ruth’s home run record of 714. Also on display is the bat Hammerin Hank used that day.

One of the Greatest Baseball Artifacts Ever - Hank Aaron's Home Run Ball No. 715

Any fan of the game visiting Atlanta or Turner Field should make a stop at the parking lot across the street.  Thanks to the forward thinking of Atlanta officials, it is still possible visit Fulton County Stadium and experience its most famous moment. Once inside Turner Field, the Braves Museum and Hall of Fame is definitely worth the one token it costs to enter (approximately $2).

With the Braves announcement in November 2013 that the team will be leaving Turner Field at the end of the 2016 season for a new ballpark to be built in Cobb, a suburb ten miles north of Atlanta, the future of the Fulton County Stadium parking lot and stadium markers is now in doubt. Demolition of Turner Field is scheduled for 2017. Only time will tell what, if anything, will remain of Fulton County Stadium or Turner Field.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Fulton County Stadium, Georgia ballparks | Comments (5)