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Recreation Park (Philadelphia)

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Title: Recreation Park (Philadelphia)  
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Subject: Philadelphia Phillies, Baker Bowl, Philadelphia Pythians, Team to Beat, Gulf Coast League Phillies
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Recreation Park (Philadelphia)

Recreation Park
Former names Columbia Park (1866-1875), Centennial Park (1875-1883)
Location Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Capacity 6,500
Field size

Left - 300 ft.
Center - 331 ft.

Right - 247 ft.
Surface Grass
Opened In use by at least 1860.
Closed 1886
Demolished C. 1890
Philadelphia Phillies, Philadelphia Pythians, Philadelphia Centennials, Philadelphia White Stockings, Philadelphia Athletics

Recreation Park was a baseball park in Philadelphia.

The ballpark was the first home of the Philadelphia Phillies of the National League during the years 1883-1886, prior to the opening of the arena that became known as Baker Bowl.

The park was bounded by 24th Street, Ridge Avenue, 25th Street and Columbia Avenue (which in 1987 was renamed Cecil B. Moore Avenue after the civil-rights leader). The park was not the only one in the area; fourteen years later, Columbia Park, the first home of the Philadelphia Athletics, opened eight blocks to the west on Columbia Avenue, though this ballpark was on the opposite side of the avenue.

The field was used at least as early as June 16, 1860, when Equity defeated Pennsylvania 65-52 in what author Charles Peverelly, writing about "the national game," called the "first baseball game played in Pennsylvania."[1]

During the Civil War, a cavalry of the Union Army occupied the park. In 1866, with new houses bordering the field, a nine-foot fence was erected and the field was put back in shape for baseball. But it was poorly maintained by 1871 and used less and less.

The Philadelphia Centennials of the National Association leveled and resodded the field, built a 10-foot fence, clubhouse and grandstands in 1875. They called it Centennial Park. The league folded that year, and the park declined.

Alfred J. Reach bought the field in 1882, renaming it "Recreation Park." He cleared the grounds, resodded the field, built a three-section wooden grandstand and fielded the independent team called "Fillies."

There is no historical marker or any indication that a ballpark once stood on this site. As of October 2015 , a mini market stands on the corner where home plate was located, and urban housing occupies the area.


  1. ^ Westcott, Rick (1996). Philadelphia's Old Ballparks.  
Preceded by
first ballpark
Home of the Philadelphia Phillies 
1883 – 1886
Succeeded by
Baker Bowl
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