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Washington Park

By Tess Colwell

Posted on October 28, 2015

Ball in Air, [Slim] Sallee pitching, circa 1912, V1981.15.205; Ralph Irving Lloyd lantern slides, v1981.015; Brooklyn Historical Society.

It’s postseason for baseball and there’s a lot of buzz in New York with the Mets advancing to the World Series this year. With that in mind, the photo of the week depicts a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals around 1912 at Washington Park in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Before there was Ebbets Field, the Dodgers played at two separate locations for Washington Park. The first Washington Park was located at Fourth and Fifth Avenues, between Third and Fifth streets in Park Slope. The team played at this location from 1883-1891. In 1891, the team moved to Eastern Park in Brownsville, where they played for seven years. This location had fewer transportation options, was further away for fans, and the rent was high, which prompted the move back to Washington Park in 1898. This time, the second Washington Park location was nearby at Third and Fourth Avenues, between First and Third streets.

In 1913, only a year after this photograph was taken, the Dodgers moved from Washington Park to Ebbets Field. The park’s small size, as well as its close proximity to the Gowanus Canal and nearby factories, helped prompt the move to the larger Ebbets Field. A 1912 Brooklyn Daily Eagle article described that part of the excitement for the new Ebbets Field was the air quality at the new location. “The future Ebbets Field will be in direct connection with fifteen different car lines, and how prominently beneficial the pure air of the suburbs will be in comparison with the congested, smoke-laden atmosphere, resulting from the factories and river craft in the vicinity of Washington Park.” Washington Park is no longer standing, but part of the stadium wall can still be found at Third Avenue and First Street. Today, Washington Park is the site of Con Ed storage facilities.

This photograph comes from the Ralph Irving Lloyd lantern slides collection. Lloyd was a Brooklyn ophthalmologist and amateur photographer. The collection contains roughly 400 black-and-white lantern slides that depict 19th and 20th century scenes in Brooklyn. To see more photographs from this collection, check out this gallery.

Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images. Interested in seeing even more historic Brooklyn images? Visit our Brooklyn Visual Heritage website here. To search BHS’s entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections visit BHS’s Othmer Library Wed-Sat, 1:00-5:00 p.m. [email protected]

1 comment

  • Rick

    Posted on October 29, 2015

    Interesting that almost all of the billboards are for liquor and cigarettes/cigars. The only others are White Rock beverages (maybe for mixers?) and chewing gum (maybe to mask liquor or smoking breath?). I'm sort of kidding on the last two - they're probably quite innocuous - but the others really are indicative of the times and the audience.

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