Sports Temples of Boston: Sports Temples of Boston: Images of Historic Ballparks, Arenas, and Statiums 1872-1972

South End Grounds

Cartographer: Bromley, George Washington

Cartographer: Bromley, Walter Scott

Roxbury, Massachusetts
1895

Located on Columbus Avenue and Walpole Street at the present site of the MBTA’s Ruggles Street Station in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood, the South End Grounds was the first baseball "temple" and a home for Boston major league baseball for over four decades. The South End Grounds was also used for college sporting events including baseball and football. Harvard College football games were sometimes played in the South End Grounds in the days before Harvard Stadium was built.

First constructed and opened in 1871, South End Grounds was best known as the original home park of the Boston Braves. In 1888, the original structure was torn down and rebuilt as Boston’s first double-decked ballpark. Looking like something out of a baseball fairytale, it was known as the Grand Pavilion. This remarkable structure was designed with covered viewing stands, turrets, and intricate ornamentation. Unfortunately, the Grand Pavilion burned to the ground in 1894 when a fire in the bleachers got out of control. The fire destroyed not only the Grand Pavilion but quickly spread to neighboring buildings and ended as the Great Roxbury Fire of 1894 which destroyed much of lower Roxbury.

A third ballpark was built and was the home of the Boston Braves until August 1914. (The Braves played at the Congress Street Grounds for the several months that it took to rebuild the ballpark.) The new structure was not as grand as its predecessor and the growing crowds and popularity of baseball, not to mention competition with the new Red Sox field, Fenway Park, drove the Braves to build a larger and more modern steel and concrete stadium – Braves Field - on Commonwealth Avenue in Allston. The South End Grounds is now just a memory in Boston’s sports history.

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Boston Base Ball Team, 1900

1. Boston Base Ball Team, 1900

Image number: 05_02_011019
Photographer: Chickering, Elmer
Roxbury, Massachusetts (1900)

Boston National League Team. Top, from left to right: second baseman Bobby Lowe, unidentified, outfielder Chick Stahl, outfielder Hugh Duffy, unidentified. Middle: unidentified, Buck Freeman, unidentified, pitcher Bill Dinneen, pitcher Ted Lewis, unid

Team picture of the 1890 Boston Club of the National League

2. Team picture of the 1890 Boston Club of the National League

Image number: 05_02_011030
Roxbury, Massachusetts (1890)

Team arrayed around Frank Selee, grandstand and bleachers visible in background.

Array

3. Array

Image number: 05_02_011031
Roxbury, Massachusetts (1890)

Exterior of grandstand, parked cars visible in foreground.

Detail of Plate 20 of the 1895 Atlas of the City of Boston, Boston Proper and Roxbury, showing South End Grounds

4. Detail of Plate 20 of the 1895 Atlas of the City of Boston, Boston Proper and Roxbury, showing South End Grounds

Image number: 05_02_011101
Cartographer: Bromley, George Washington
Cartographer: Bromley, Walter Scott
Roxbury, Massachusetts (1895)

South End Grounds grandstand and diamond visible. Ballpark bordered by Columbus Avenue, Walpole Street and New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad tracks.

Plate 20 of the 1895 Atlas for the City of Boston, Boston Proper and Roxbury, showing South End Grounds

5. Plate 20 of the 1895 Atlas for the City of Boston, Boston Proper and Roxbury, showing South End Grounds

Image number: 05_02_011114
Cartographer: Bromley, George Washington
Cartographer: Bromley, Walter Scott
Roxbury, Massachusetts (1895)

South End Grounds grandstand and diamond visible. Ballpark bordered by Columbus Avenue, Walpole Street and New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad tracks.

Detail of The City of Boston, 1879, showing the South End Grounds

6. Detail of The City of Boston, 1879, showing the South End Grounds

Image number: 05_02_011120
Lithographer: Armstrong & Co. (Boston, Mass.)
Roxbury, Massachusetts (1879)

Detail of section showing a depiction of the South End Grounds with players on the field.

The City of Boston, 1879

7. The City of Boston, 1879

Image number: 05_02_011121
Lithographer: Armstrong & Co. (Boston, Mass.)
Roxbury, Massachusetts (1879)

Bird's-eye view of Boston from over the harbor, the South End Grounds are visible to the far left.

Philadelphia Athletics and Boston Red Stockings at the South End Grounds

8. Philadelphia Athletics and Boston Red Stockings at the South End Grounds

Image number: 05_02_011020
Roxbury, Massachusetts (1872-1875)

Standing, left to right: George Hall, Athletics, George Bechtel, Athletics, William Craven, Athletics, Adrian Anson, Athletics, Ezra Sutton, Athletics, Clapp, Athletics, Jim White, Boston, Al Spaulding, Boston, George Wright, Boston, McVey, Boston, Harry

Boston National League team, 1890

9. Boston National League team, 1890

Image number: 05_02_011023
Photographer: Smith, G. Waldon
Roxbury, Massachusetts (ca. 1890)

Top, from left to right: infielder James "Chippy" McGarr, pitcher Harry Staley, outfielder Patrick "Patsy" Donovan, utility man Charles Ganzell, third baseman William Joyce, pitcher William Daley, first baseman Tommy Tucker. Middle: pitcher Charles "Kid

The Washington, Pittsburgh, New York, Boston, Indianapolis, Philadelphia and Detroit Teams of the National League

10. The Washington, Pittsburgh, New York, Boston, Indianapolis, Philadelphia and Detroit Teams of the National League

Image number: 05_02_011026
Photographer: Hastings, George H.
Roxbury, Massachusetts (1888)

Team pictures of various National League teams superimposed over an artists rendering of the South End Grounds. Six of the eight photographs are clearly taken at the South End Grounds. The location of the other two photos is unknown. Top row, left to r

 
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Sports Temples of Boston: Images of Historic Ballparks, Arenas and Stadiums, 1872-1972
has been made possible through a Library Services and Technology Act grant
administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.