8/21/2006

Offermann Stadium - 1956

I snagged this photo copy of a b&w print from the Historical Society ten years ago. It's been on my office bulletin board and above my desk for the last nine years. I believe the picture is from 1956.
Offerman Stadium - 1956
click image for additional details
There are times - like tonite, I just returned from a 45 minute walk around the neighborhood - when all I see are the ghosts of how this neighborhood used to be. The hollowing out of my little corner of Masten has reached epidemic proportions. A quick look at the block of Woodlawn Avenue along the right field wall clearly shows twenty-five homes. Today there are only fourteen. Five are occupied. And 18 of the 21 sets of row houses have vanished...

The City owned and now abandoned 'Woodlawn Row Houses' appear with a white roof towards the bottom right. Check out the spectacular sets of row houses just across the street and behind the Offermann score board. Here's a little history about the site...
In addition to the row houses, two professional baseball stadiums were located here. In the Fall of 1888 Olympic Park was moved by horse and wagon from the corner of Richmond Avenue and Summer Street and became the home of the Buffalo Bisons until Offermann Stadium was constructed on the site in 1924. Offermann Stadium's grand stands were designed by noted Buffalo architect Louise Bethune. The last game was played on September 17, 1960. Offermann Stadium was demolished later that year and Woodlawn Jr. High School opened on the same site in 1962. Today (summer 2006) the site is being renovated again, this time as the future home of Performing Arts High School.
More about Frank Offermann and Buffalo Bison's best hitter and first baseman, Luke Easter...real soon...

See also - Baseball in Buffalo...
update...8/22/06 See aslo David Steele's BRO piece - A NIMBY's Worst Nightmare - reflections on Offermann Stadium and the high density mixed use development here in this little corner of Masten. Great comments.
__________________________________________________________________________
Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row HousesTour dé Neglect - 2006faq

16 comments:

STEEL said...

how bout having a home run sail into your back yard. now that is cool. Do you think they could get this past the nimby's these days?

I might have to use this picture on BRO if you don't mind. let me know

fix buffalo said...

There's all sorts of stories about home-run balls in the neighborhood. Luke Easter - Bison's first baseman and legendary homerun hitter - is the only player to have hit one over the score board.

Olympic Park - having been transported from the Summer/Richmond neighborhood in the fall of 1888 - predates the late 1890's residential building boom in this part of Masten.

And all sorts of additional stories about neighborhood residents setting up and selling seats on the second floor porches along right field.

Sorry about the picture quality...but go ahead and use it...

Anonymous said...

what is the axact locqation of the old offerman stadium. we used to skip school to go to the home opener every year. Remember Luuuuke

Anonymous said...

The spelling for Offermann Stadium is incorrect on the site...it was named for Frank Offermann , my grandfather and is spelled w/ 2 n's
Thanks for correcting!

Anonymous said...

in 1956 i was a six year old kid living at 105 glenwood ave

fix buffalo said...

Anon...

Have any pix from back in the day?

Let me know...thanks.

Anonymous said...

aloha fix buffalo, sad to say all i have are memories of the hood. webers grocery, lawson's next door to weber's, youngs gocery. attended st nicholas all the way through the 8 grade then on to cardinal dougherty, residing in wash dc for past 40 years.

fix buffalo said...

anon...

Thanks for filling me in. Was Weber's at the corner of Glenwood and Michigan? There's still a sign on this corner building - "Weber's" Let me know...

Anonymous said...

yes, i believe it would be the nw corner, sometime in the early sixties it was taken over by daniel gambino, i went to high school with his son danny jr, he got me a part time job there, $1.00 an hour, i would make $30.00 a week, a lot of money for a 17 18 year old back then, by that time i was living at 261 east utica, next door to halyards funeral home.

anon in dc

Anonymous said...

i remember the neighborhood being called Cold Spring(s) when i was growing up there

anon in dc

Anonymous said...

I was just reading about Offermann Stadium and the other article about Frank Offermann. In his article he speaks of his father's siblings and I was wondering who they may have been? I am an Offermann.

Anonymous said...

I believe the aerial photo of Offermann Stadium may be older than 1956. I attended games beginning in 1955 or 56 and remember the flood light towers were larger than those in the photo. I have 2 photos I took around that time of a Bison vs Miami Marlins game showing the larger towers. Also, you can see a church behind homeplate which I believe still exists on the SE corner of East Ferry and Michigan. The east wall of the church is angled to accomodate the stadium.

Ginyek said...

There is photo that is just about identical this one in "Lost Ballparks; A Celebration of Baseball's Legendary Fields" by Lawrence S. Ritter. The photo is captioned as Bison (Offermann) Stadium in 1933. In his book, Ritter includes an entire chapter about Offermann Stadium which includes many photos and interesting facts. Luke Easter was apparently the only player ever to hit a home run that cleared the centerfield scoreboard.

In 1959, the year the Bisons won the Minor League AAA World Series, my dad got us season tickets. We had a great time, watching future major leaguers like Ruben Amaro, Chris Short and Frank Herrara.

One of my favorite memories of Offermann Stadium were the sights and smells of all the push cart vendors outside the park, selling sausages, hot dogs and fresh roasted peanuts.

Anonymous said...

worked on the ground crew as a teen, in the scoreboard and press box. My friend's family owned a grocery store on the corner of Masten and Woodlawn. I think that homer by Luke broke the store's front window on Woodlwan. Really a great summer job for a kid during the mid "50's. Jones Dairy across the street, Freddies doughnuts closeby. Got to know Bill Mazur and Stan Barron

Anonymous said...

Lived in a row house adjacent to the stadium in the 40's and 50's. could see the games from our attic window. I sold peanuts on the corner as a kid.

fixBuffalo said...

Anon - july 23 - please email me. Thanks.

davidtorke@gmail.com