These 8 Historic Ballparks Take the United States' Favorite Pastime Back in Time

You've heard of Boston's Fenway Park and Chicago's Wrigley Field, but the United States is dotted with dozens of lesser-known ballparks with rich histories that reflect the complexity and diversity of the American experience. This summer, we at the National Trust for Historic Preservation invite you to grab your cap and head to your nearest historic baseball stadium. These sites, some that you may be familiar with, have witnessed clashes, triumphs, and unforgettable moments that have shaped both the sport and the nation.

  1. The entryway on the ballpark at Beyer Stadium with the sign "Home of the Rockford Peaches" painted on it.

    Photo By: Krazy19Karl, Wikimedia Commons

    Beyer Stadium, Rockford, Illinois

    This ballpark is the former home of the Rockford Peaches of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). The Peaches won a league-best four championships during the AAGPBL’s 21 years of operation. The league has since been memorialized in the 1992 film “A League of Their Own” and a 2022 television series of the same name. The history of America’s first women baseball stars will also be celebrated at the Peaches’ old stadium after the completion of an ongoing $10 million renovation project, including developing a museum about women in baseball.

  2. The front of Hinchliffe Stadium at its Grand Reopening.

    Photo By: Jessica Pumphrey/NTHP

    Hinchliffe Stadium, Patterson, New Jersey

    Once the home of some of the greatest ballplayers in America, Hinchliffe stadium served in the 1930s and 1940s as the home field for the New York Black Yankees, the New York Cuban Stars, and the Newark Eagles. Listed in 2010 as one of the National Trust’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, the site recently completed its transformation as a major mixed use development project that includes a museum, restaurant, stadium, and affordable housing. The field is home to the New Jersey Jackals, a member of the independent Frontier League (a partner league of Major League Baseball).

  3. View of Oriole Park at Camden Yards. There are players in the background but no one in the stands.

    Photo By: © by James G. Howes, 2008

    Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland

    This Baltimore stadium kickstarted a nationwide trend of retro-inspired ballpark construction when it opened in 1992. After decades of stadiums across the country moving into the suburbs, Oriole Park at Camden Yards brought baseball back to the heart of Baltimore. Its design blends modern amenities with classic architectural features like red-brick arches, clock towers, and utilitarian steel beams that transport visitors back in time. A historic railroad warehouse stretches behind the outfield, making the city and its industrial past a backdrop to today's ballgames.

  4. Exterior of Grayson Stadium with three flagpoles in front. There is a sign in front says Grayson Stadium.

    Photo By: Will120, Wikimedia Commons

    Grayson Stadium, Savannah, Georgia

    Opened as Municipal Stadium in 1926, this minor league Savannah ballpark underwent significant rehabilitation after being damaged in a 1941 hurricane. It was renamed to honor William L. Grayson, a Spanish-American War veteran who led the efforts to rebuild the park. Half of the funds for the rehabilitation were provided by the federal government's Works Progress Administration, which supported most stadiums built between 1935 and 1943. Today, Grayson Stadium, sometimes called Bananaland, is home to the Savannah Bananas, an exhibition baseball team known for its entertaining games and viral videos.

  5. The entrance to Rickwood Field which is written in yellow on a green painted wall.

    Photo By: Chris "Mojo" Denbow (Photo-Mojo)

    Rickwood Field, Birmingham, Alabama

    Rickwood Field is the oldest ballpark in the nation. Opened in 1910, it was the home park for the Birmingham Barons and the Birmingham Black Barons for decades. Baseball legend Willie Mays grew up minutes away and, at just 16, played for the 1948 Negro American League-winning Black Barons. Star pitcher Leroy “Satchel” Paige also grew up in Alabama and won more games for the Black Barons than any other professional team. Like fellow Negro League stadium Hinchliffe in Patterson, New Jersey, Rickwood Field is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and serves as a living museum.

  6. Heineken Cities Project Callout: Houston Astrodome

    The Astrodome, Houston, Texas

    Hailed as the "Eighth Wonder of the World" when it opened in 1965, Houston's Astrodome was the world's first fully enclosed, multipurpose, air-conditioned sports stadium with a retractable roof. America's Space Age and the neighboring Johnson Space Center inspired its forward-looking design. The stadium was home to multiple sports teams, including Major League Baseball's (MLB) Houston Astros, and hosted other events for over 40 years. Today the site is undergoing rehabilitation and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its architectural and cultural significance.

  7. A black and white image of the Gila River War Relocation Center in Arizona. This was one of a number of incarceration camps that held Japanese Americans during World War II.

    Photo By: Francis Stewart, Wikimedia Commons (via NARA)

    Zenimura Field, Gila River War Relocation Center, Arizona

    Baseballer Kenichi Zenimura established this now-demolished ballpark while interned under Executive Order 9066 at the Gila River War Relocation Center from 1942 to 1945. Built with makeshift materials, the park hosted 32 teams in three divisions. When the camp closed, Zenimura returned home to Fresno, California. He continued to play competitive baseball and supported up-and-coming Japanese American players, earning the nickname “The Father of Japanese American Baseball.” Remnants of Zenimura Field, including its wooden home plate, are preserved at the American Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

  8. View of Dodger Stadium  in Los Angeles during a night game. The field is brightly lit/.

    Photo By: Sharon Mollerus, Wikimedia Commons CC by 2.0

    Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California

    This iconic ballpark, the third-oldest MLB park in the nation, has a checkered past. Opened in 1962, the stadium’s construction came at the cost of many Mexican American families being forced from their homes in a struggle known as the Battle of Chavez Ravine. This painful chapter of Los Angeles’s history still sparks calls for reparations.

Marianne Dhenin is a historian and journalist covering social and environmental justice and politics. @mariannedhe

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