Details for Fair Grounds Base Ball Park (Atlas Number 5507018145)

Historical Marker — Atlas Number 5507018145


Marker Number 18145
Atlas Number 5507018145
Marker Title Fair Grounds Base Ball Park
Index Entry Fair Grounds Base Ball Park
Address Corner of Mc Gowen Street at Milam Street
City Houston
County Harris
UTM Zone 15
UTM Easting 270259
UTM Northing 3293038
Subject Codes African American topics; fairs and festivals; sports topics
Marker Year 2014
Marker Location
Marker Size 27"x42" with post
Marker Text Semi-professional baseball was a major attraction at the first annual state fair held in Houston in May of 1870. One year later, the fairgrounds moved to a new location near where Main Street ended onto the prairie at Houston's south edge. The fairgrounds had a racetrack, grandstand, and permanent exhibit hall that sat on eighty acres. The fair offered competitions, livestock shows, dancing, and baseball. The earliest multi-city baseball competitions in Texas were played at the Houston Fair Grounds Ball Field until the state fair left Houston forever in 1878. The fair grounds were rented as a city park, and the ball field at Travis and McGowen streets remained vibrant. The professional Texas Association, the first intercity baseball league in the state, played games at the field in 1884. Even as the old fair grounds were being developed, the six square blocks between McGowen, Main, Drew, and Milam remained open for baseball. On April 1, 1888, the inaugural game for the Texas League was played at Fair Grounds Park, with Houston defeating Galveston 4-1. In 1896, the grandstands were rebuilt with enough seats for 2,500 spectators. It continued to hold games for the Texas League, major league exhibitions and top African American teams in Texas until 1904, when the six blocks where the field sat were developed. Less than a year after baseball moved away, the blocks were subdivided and sold as residential and commercial properties. (2014)