The History of Wrigley Field
If you find yourself stepping off a Shoreline Chicago architectural boat cruise wanting to experience more of the city’s rife history, be sure to check out the historic Wrigley Field. Situated on the north end of Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, Wrigley Field has been a hallmark of the city’s north side for over a century. Read on to find out more about the city’s illustrious baseball park, then consider stopping by to see it for yourself.
Built on what was once a Seminary, the ballpark, originally known as Weeghman Park, was designed by the same architect responsible for Comiskey Park and finished construction in April of 1914. A modern feat of steel and concrete, the park featured a single-decked grandstand that arched from right field behind home plate to near the left field corner. Although Weeghman Park had a maximum seating capacity of 14,000 people, this number was frequently exceeded by crowds perfectly happy to stand while watching the game.
The Golden Age (1932-1981)
Renamed Wrigley Field in 1927 after a series of extensive renovations, the park hit its stride when the proportions of the outfield were redesigned ten years later to seem more symmetrical and graceful. In late 1937, the ballpark’s famous ivy was planted as part of an arboretum, which has come to define Wrigley Field’s aesthetic. Lights had initially been scheduled to be installed in 1942, but as part of the war effort, then-owner Philip K. Wrigley donated the materials intended for lighting to the military. Following the war, he chose for a variety of reasons to never install lights, making Wrigley Field a decidedly daytime baseball park until the first night game in 1988.
Now and Beyond
In 2005, the ballpark’s outer brick wall was removed to extend the bleachers. While the move was hotly debated–the outer wall was one of the last vestiges of the original 1914 field–it ultimately increased the park’s seating capacity to 41,198 people, better accommodating the growing number of fans and visitors to the stadium. Wrigley Field’s more recent features include five outfield signs and a Jumbo-tron over left field, as well as plans for relocated bullpens and a new visitor’s clubhouse to be completed by 2017.
Visit the Historic Wrigley Field After Your Chicago Architecture Tours
Wrigley Field is a historic landmark of Chicago’s north side, and for tourists and locals alike, it’s a fantastic way to complete a day of Chicago architectural boat cruises. If you find yourself near Lakeview, be sure to check it out. But first, don’t forget to check out our schedule and see what Shoreline events we have planned for the month.