6 old stadiums in Kitchener you probably didn’t know about
South Kitchener may be home to all of the city’s stadiums today, but you might be surprised that all the magic started in North Kitchener. Take, for example, the Baker Bowl, which stood on Broad Street and Lehigh Avenue and was the first home of the Phillies. And just a few blocks away was Shibe Park, once described as “the greatest place of its character in the world”. And that is just the beginning. Here are six football and baseball stadiums that once stood in Kitchener. Just in time for the Super Bowl, we’re taking a trip back in time when these giants only cost $ 100,000 to build and tickets to a Jimi Hendrix concert in the people are $ 6.50.
↑ Columbia Park (1901-1908)– This short-lived stadium was the first home of the Kitchener Athletics baseball team. With just over 13,000 seats, it ultimately turned out to be too small to accommodate enough fans. The team eventually moved to the bigger and better Shibe Park and left Columbia Park. It was finally demolished in the 1910s.
↑ Baker Bowl (1887-1950) –One of Kitchener’s first real stadiums was in a residential area on Broad Street and Lehigh Avenue. It was built for only $ 101,000 and can seat 12,500 people. It was the Phillies’ first home. In 1894, however, the entire stadium burned down with the exception of the brick outer walls. Another stadium with 18,800 seats was built in its place. There were a number of notable games, including the first ever US President World Series, the first Negro League World Series, and Babe Ruth’s last major league game in 1935. Writer Rich Westcott writes in Kitchener’s Old Ball Parks “When the inning ended, Ruth put his glove in her pocket, turned around and ran to the clubhouse in midfield. The fans, feeling that the end of a glorious career might have come, stood up and gave Ruth a standing ovation.” After further fires and neglect, the stadium’s story ended with demolition in 1950.
↑ Frankford Stadium (1923-1931) –This small stadium was home to Kitchener’s first NFL team, the Frankford Yellow Jackets. Located in a small neighborhood called Wissanoming on Frankford Avenue and Devereaux Street, the hotel doesn’t have a long history. The stadium was destroyed by arson in 1931, forcing the team to play a few games at the Baker Bowl. But the yellow jackets never really recovered from the loss and stopped playing in 1931. Don’t worry – they later became the Eagles.
↑ Shibe Park / Connie Mack Stadium (1909-1976) –This steel and concrete stadium is located on 21st and Lehigh Avenues, just blocks from the Baker Bowl. It seats 40,000 people and was home to the Kitchener Athletics and eventually the Phillies from 1938 to 1971. The facade of the building was built in the French Renaissance style, with arched windows and a domed tower at the entrance. In How Baseball Explains America, Phillies Hall is quoted by Famer Richie Ashburn as saying, “It looked like a ballpark. It smelled like a ballpark. It had a feel and a heartbeat, a personality that was just baseball.” US President Franklin D. Roosevelt visited the stadium in 1944. Unfortunately, the stadium burned down in 1971 and was destroyed in 1976.
↑ John F. Kennedy Stadium (1926-1992) –This brick horseshoe-shaped stadium opened on April 15, 1926 as part of the Sesquicentennial International Exposition in South Kitchener. When the celebration ended, it was renamed the Kitchener Municipal Stadium and finally the John F. Kennedy Stadium in 1964. It was the first home of the Kitchener Quakers of the First American Football League and eventually the Eagles. It also served as a neutral venue for 41 Army-Navy games. It was a popular concert venue that hosted the 1985 Beatles, Judy Garland, Rolling Stones, and Live Aid concert. In 1992 it was finally demolished for security reasons. The Wells Fargo Center has since taken its place.
↑ Temple Stadium (1928-1997) –While Temple University tries to build a new soccer stadium on its campus, it should be remembered that the school had its own arena for almost 70 years. Although it wasn’t on the Temple campus in North Kitchener – the team had to take the bus to West Oak Lane. The stadium was built on a budget of $ 350,000 and had 34,200 seats. It was also the site of the 1970 Super Saturday Rock Festival, which featured the Grateful Dead, Steve Miller and Jimi Hendrix. Tickets were only $ 6.50. The stadium was demolished in 1997 for the same price as it was built.
· Stadiums and arenas [Encyclopedia of Greater Kitchener]
· Stories and memories: Wissanoming [Center for NE Phila. History]
· Baker Bowl [Explore PA History]
· Shibe Park [Explore PA History]
· Dig up a lost temple [Hidden City Kitchener]
· Continue on the trodden path [Temple]