This structure was the first reinforced-concrete stadium in the nation. The Evening Bulletin called it a "baseball showplace of the country". Although it had other uses over the years, the stadium was built to accommodate the professional baseball team, Philadelphia Athletics, who occupied it from 1909 to 1954. (The Athletics are now defunct). When the stadium was vacated in 1970 it was the oldest park in the major leagues. It was demolished in 1976 after a fire in 1971 had severely damaged it.
In 1909, when construction was finished, the new park was V in shape and consisted of a grandstand and a pair of bleachers. (Later additions changed that shape). The grandstand was in the center, forming a corner which included a circular tower and two wings, and the bleachers were extensions of the V. There were 23,000 seats, of which 12,000 were in the bleachers, and 200 parking spaces in the right field bleachers (east side). Steel folding chairs were installed, and the ladies' rest rooms were said to be attractively furnished. The ground floor of the east bleachers (Lehigh Ave. side) was used as a shopping center. Among the stores were a tobacco store and a furniture store. The stores were discontinued in 1918.
Other occupants of the stadium included two professional teams, Philadelphia Phillies and Philadelphia Eagles. Both teams moved to the new Veterans Stadium in 1970.
In 1910 the 12,000 bleacher seats were covered and new bleachers were added along Somerset Street. In 1925 a second deck was added to the east and west bleachers. In 1929 the grandstand roof was raised to add 3,000 seats and the press box. In 1930 structural reinforcements were added. In 1935 the east bleachers were raised in height from 12 feet to 50 feet, this was to block spectators from viewing the games from house roofs. In 1939 stadium lighting was added for night games. In 1949 the east and west bleachers were rebuilt. In 1956 an electric scoreboard was added for $175,000 and additional box seats were installed. In 1960 infield boxes were added.
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