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Baseball Soon, Parking Now, Lumber Then

Ballpark Site History

June 8, 2006 1:04 AM

New Downtown Minneapolis Public Library

New Downtown Minneapolis Public Library (Source: RP)

If you haven't been to the new downtown library, find a time and just stroll in. Not only is it a magnificent building, but so much information is now at your fingertips which was locked away in the past, and it's very easy to navigate. What's more, the staff is absolutely amazing to work with.

I went in looking for old maps of downtown Minneapolis, specifically the warehouse district. When I said I was researching the ballpark site, the librarian immediately assumed I was referring to Athletic Park (which in the late 1800s was located on the block which currently contains Butler Square)! I explained that, no, I was interested in the new Twins ballpark site just two blocks away. She laughed and said, "Yes, I suppose that's more interesting now."

I should say that I love delving into Minneapolis history. It's been a hobby for many years, and I never miss an opportunity to find out new tidbits. I won't go into all the details of researching something like this, despite the fact that it's pretty easy if you have the time and patience. On this particular day, I did.

1885 Sanborn Map Image

1885 Sanborn Map Image (Source: Sanborn Map Collection, Minneapolis Public Library, Copyright © 2001 by The Sanborn Map Company, Sanborn Library, LLC)

Ultimately, I was eased into an online map database which contains detailed insurance maps from various points in the last 150 years. That's where I found the next image (stadium location shaded blue). It is of the ballpark neighborhood in 1885, and it shows that the most of the area was lumber yards and railroad tracks.

At first, I thought this was essentially uninteresting. Then I looked again at the various names and the one business building located on the actual site (about where left field will likely be one day). It is listed as the Camp & Walker Planing Mill (see detail).

After a little further research, I realized that this was owned by none other than T. B. Walker, one of the very big names in Minneapolis history. He made a fortune in lumber, and was friend to many other big names like railroad tycoon James J. Hill. Walker's family ultimately founded many institutions in the Twin Cities which still bear their name, including the Walker Art Center. Here is Walker's bio from the Minnesota Historical Society which even includes a reference to his partnership with George A. Camp.

It's notable that very nearby was another locally famous name on the Lowry Elevator. Other businesses in the area included the North Star Lumber Company and the Fraser & Shepherd Sash, Door, and Blind Manufacturers. There are also two ponds interrupting 6th Street.

Just to the south (left of the image above) is a large undeveloped area which was not even mapped in 1889. Despite this, it's clear that our new playground will be built in an area that was a hub of commerce in the late 19th century.

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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 3042 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.





B ramp improvements are finally becoming usable. The doors lead to the plaza beneath the skyway steps.






The lot within the lot.









July 7, 1966 (Click to see the entire scorecard with ads)



Here's what they do in April at Comerica Park



Flowers and Hall-of-Fame plaques. Very nice.












Infield dirt used as accents






Location for automated ticket machines



Here's the view of the entrance ramp to 394. Looks like they are painting...



This guy at the Puckett atrium chef stand caught me taking the picture and said I should stop back later because he was "just getting started." I still don't know what he meant.









Florida



That's Fifth Street (and a tattooed arm) in the foreground.



Future home of the Met Stadium flag pole



Oh, nevermind.



Skinny dugouts at TF















This view clearly shows the curve in the left field stands and the relationship of the first row with the playing field (no overhang to speak of in left).



I took this picture from the Overlook at great personal risk, because everything Thome was hitting was landing out that direction.



With the engine behind us, we got a real sense of how fast we were going by looking out the front (back) window



Plaza overview






Note that, even though the scoreboard appears strategically placed, it's the outfield stands which block any potential view of the field from this roof.



Not sure what those supports are for -- probably stadia.


















The outline of an infield has appeared on the asphalt in advance of the ground-breaking on Thursday night.



This view clearly shows the curve in the left field stands and the relationship of the first row with the playing field (no overhang to speak of in left).



Puckett atrium menu part 2 (Those prices match elsewhere in the ballpark.)



Lots of people are doing it.






Cushions!



Photo by Tyler Wycoff



For those who have never seen it up close, that's what it looks like when steam comes out of the HERC plant.



This is where the main ticket office will be.





Glossary

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
 


(1993)
 


First Edition (1992)
 


Second Edition (2006)
 


(2008)
 

Selected Bibliography - Surveys
 


(1975)
 


Second Edition (1987)
 


Not a "Third Edition" exactly,
but it replaced the above title
(2000)
 


(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
 


(1992)
 


Book and six ballpark miniatures
(2004)
 

Complete Bibliography

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