South End Grounds, former home of the Boston Braves.


The City of Boston is well-known for the Red Sox and their beloved ballpark, Fenway Park, but long before its construction the city was the home to one of most unique ballparks in the history of baseball. Organized baseball in Boston dates to the middle of the 19th century. After the Cincinnati Red Stockings dissolved following the 1871, a few members of the club went to Boston and became part of the newly formed Boston Red Stockings as charter members of the National Association of Professional Baseball Players. The club built a small wooden ballpark on a rectangular shaped lot along Columbus and Walpole Streets. This ballpark became known as South End Grounds and hosted its first game on April 6, 1871. It had a seating capacity of around 3,000. Boston played here for a number of years before tearing down the ballpark and replacing the structure with a new grander facility after the 1887 season.

The second South End Grounds was constructed on the same site as the first one during the offseason. This ballpark was unlike any other one built at the time. It featured a double-decked grandstand around homeplate with additional seating down the baselines and bleachers in the outfield. It had a Victorian Era appearance with twin spires and turrets atop the roof of the second deck, giving the ballpark a truly medieval appearance. It had modern amenities for the day including toilet rooms and restaurants. The overall seating capacity was 6,800 and the team played their first game here on May 5, 1888. Unfortunately, this unique ballpark succumbed to the same fate as many other wooden ballparks during this era. On May 15, 1894 a fire began underneath the right field bleachers and burned the entire ballpark and many surrounding buildings to the ground.

Following the blaze the team played at Congress Street Grounds while a new ballpark was constructed. Owners of the ballpark had under-insured South End Grounds II and were unable to construct a new ballpark that was similar to the previous one. A smaller one-tiered wooden ballpark was built and the team began playing at the new South End Grounds on July 20, 1894. After the start of the 20th century the National League Boston Braves team became very successful on the field. By the early 1910s the capacity of South End Grounds was too small. The American League Boston franchise, the Red Sox, built a new ballpark, Fenway Park in 1912. During the Braves 1914 pennant season they decided to move to Fenway Park due to its larger capacity. They played their last game at South End Grounds on August 11, 1914 against Cincinnati. The Braves built a new ballpark, Braves Field, moving into it in 1915. The third iteration of the South End Grounds was demolished and the site is now part of Northeastern University.