A River Runs Through It
June 2, 2006 11:43 PM
Finally, something interesting about our new ballpark site: it sits on top of a river!
OK, maybe 'river' is a strong word. It's actually Bassett Creek, and it runs directly beneath the Rapid Park lot. Maps differ on exactly where it flows, but all agree it goes through there somewhere on its way to the river.
Bassett Creek's original path (Source: Metropolitan Design Center)
Some history is in order. Bassett Creek begins at Medicine Lake, and is open to the air for most of its journey to the Mississippi River, including a large stretch which flows through Theodore Wirth Park.
In Minneapolis' early days, the creek flowed unchecked to the river, and this was a source of more or less constant problems as the area became more and more populated. Ultimately, it ran through heavily-populated residential areas. But it became something of an open sewer which had a tendency to flood easily and fill houses with all sorts of noxious debris.
Sometime early in the 20th century, a decision was made to divert the stream into a tunnel (actually two) so that the surrounding land could be developed. Ever since, the creek has continued to run and exit to the river through two culverts.
The north channel is the smaller of the two, and exits to the river just below the Plymouth Avenue bridge. This is the one which is actually visible to patrons of the Acme Comedy Club, located at 708 N 1st St. (There is a viewing area which actually looks down onto the running water!) It is also the channel which was brought back to the surface where it flows through the Sumner Fields rebuilding project.
Bassett Creek's path through the ballpark site (Source: Minneapolis Public Library)
The south channel is the main channel through which the bulk of the water still flows, and this is the channel beneath Rapid Park. How this complicates the building of a stadium is anybody's guess. I discovered it in one of the Urban Ballpark documents regarding the need for Environmental Impact Statements, so it must be well known to the people involved.
City Pages did a cover story history of the creek a few years ago when the Sumner Fields reconstruction began. They correctly note that people began to regret burying the creek almost as soon as the project was completed, and even today there are those who would love to see it returned to the surface where it would, no doubt, increase property values substantially.
How about a stream running past our outfield fence? Or maybe underneath the grandstand but visible through a glass floor. Far-fetched, perhaps, but just the type of amenity which could become a signature.
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This page was last modified on January 21, 2010.
"You talk about the magic, the aura, but what really makes a stadium is the fans. Concrete doesn't talk back to you. Chairs don't talk back to you. It's the people who are there, day in, day out, that makes the place magic."
– Bernie Williams
Explore the Site
Here are 50 images chosen randomly from the 3045 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Our cantilever friends will be happy to learn that there will be sections with views like this in the new stadium.
TCF Bank Stadium. Not for baseball, but still pretty cool to watch being built.
This looks south and shows how the Northstar tracks are sheltered by the promenade above. This is the side which faces the HERC plant.
A skyway-level view down Seventh Street.
Even today, throw a fastball to that guy at your own risk.
The pouring is taking place at the very bottom of this photo.
The Carew lounge was all ready for some corporate event.
New Year's Eve, 2008
This is the Carew gate covered in plastic.
(Click to enlarge.)
Apparently, there will be public restrooms accessible directly from the plaza.
This view looks up Fifth Street toward downtown and shows how the LRT tracks sort of snuggle up to the ballpark.
The Fifth Street side is pretty busy. There's a small street entrance to the B ramp, then ticket booths and an entrance gate, a rare exterior section not covered in limestone, the wooden screen covering the circulation ramps, the administration building, and finally (just out of view) the interface with Northstar. All of that sits behind the LRT action. How pedestrians will interact with this side of the park is a great mystery to me. You know that Metro Transit won't be letting them cross the tracks anywhere but at either end of the block...
Site of the proposed new Atlanta Braves ballpark. Look familiar?
If you are into shade, there are lots of opportunities. This is from the last row in section 108 -- scoreboard not blocked in the least.
What are they hanging over there?
The french fry lights were on!
One of the sweetest sights of the day -- the Dome, and only through passing bus windows.
This is as close as I could get to a pedestrian-eye view of the main entrance. This is what you'll see as you enter by coming down Sixth Street.
That's Fifth Street (and a tattooed arm) in the foreground.
It looks like the Target-themed signage has spilled out to the surrounding area (this was taken from the entryway to the B ramp from Third -- the 394 entrance ramp tunnel)
The county of my birth!
I meant to include this shot the other day. It's the new LRT bridge being built next to the remaining half of the Fifth Street bridge. The new half is almost TWICE the width of the portion torn down. And the other end runs right into a HERC administration building! (Click to see the view from nearly the same spot about 85 years ago.)
The mounds have grown seating supports
Viewed from the A ramp.
The plaza as seen from the B ramp.
BPM - Ballpark Magic
BRT - Bus Rapid Transit
DSP - Dave St. Peter
FSE - Full Season Equivalent
FYS - Fake Yankee Stadium (see also: NYS)
HERC - Hennepin Energy Resource Company (aka the Garbage Burner)
HPB - Home Plate Box
HRP - Home Run Porch
LC - Legends Club
LRT - Light Rail Transit
MBA - Minnesota Ballpark Authority (will own Target Field)
MOA - Mall of America
MSFC - Minnesota Sports Facilities Commission (owns the Metrodome)
NYS - New Yankee Stadium
SRO - Standing Room Only
STH - Season Ticket Holder
TCFBS - TCF Bank Stadium
TF - Target Field
Selected Bibliography - Analysis
First Edition (1992)
Second Edition (2006)
Selected Bibliography - Surveys
Second Edition (1987)
Not a "Third Edition" exactly,
but it replaced the above title
(2000, large coffee table)
Original edition (2000, round)
Revised edition (2006, round)
(2001, medium coffee table)
(2002, small coffee table)
(2003, medium coffee table)
(2004, very large coffee table)
(2006, very large coffee table)
Combines the previous two titles
(2007, medium coffee table)
Selected Bibliography - Nostalgia
Book and six ballpark miniatures