Palace of the Fans

From BR Bullpen

Home of the Cincinnati Reds, 1902 to 1911

BUILT: 1902

FIRST GAME: April 17, 1902, vs. Chicago Orphans (Cubs 6, Reds 2)

LAST GAME: October 6, 1911, vs. St. Louis Cardinals (Doubleheader)



Officially called League Park, the Palace of the Fans was built during the winter of 1901 to 1902 on the site of League Park. With a design reminiscent of Chicago's 1893 World's Fair architecture, this ballpark was one of the first with a distinct architectural style. The park was made of steel, concrete, and wood, and featured many ornate pillars and hand carved Corinthian columns. Wide semicircular "Fashion Boxes" stood above home plate, and "Rooter's Row", stands where boisterous fans were served beer by waiters, stretched down both foul lines. The park lacked dressing rooms and dugouts, so players had to dress at their hotel before and sit on park benches underneath the boxes during the game.

Despite weak teams, the Cincinnati Reds consistently drew good crowds to Palace of the Fans. However, the park's condition deteriorated rapidly. By 1907, the Cincinnati building inspector was making complaints of cracked girders, decayed supports, unsafe floors, and a defective section of bleachers. In 1909, the first modern night baseball game was played at Palace of the Fans, where five steel light towers had been installed for the occasion. The game, between teams from two local Elks lodges, drew about 3,000 curious fans, including some members of the Reds, who remained after their afternoon contest. In the fall of 1911, Palace of the Fans' stands burned down, and the Reds set about building Crosley Field on the same spot.