Monday, April 30, 2012

Athletic Park: Olympia's minor league ball park 1903-1921

If you're a serious baseball nerd and a serious local history nerd, you probably know that Olympia was a member of the national minor league system from 1903-1906. Sadly, you're also misinformed, as the Southwest Washington League didn't make it into 1906, but current records (incorrectly) indicate otherwise.

But, most important to me isn't really how the team played, but where exactly they played.

The above image shows the best guess of where at least the grandstands for the baseball field were. The map (from a great history on the Thurston County Fair) is a failed proposal for expanded county fair grounds on the site of Carlyon Park, where the baseball field was housed. The black triangle in the middle of the image indicates the grandstands of Athletic Park.

This article from the 1903 Morning Olympian points to a stop on the trolley line between Olympia and Tumwater run by the Olympia Light and Power Company. This piece in 1920 chronicles the end of life of "Athletic Park" right before it was torn down for the current residential neighborhood and replaced by what would become Stevens Field.

After the Olympia Senators (or Maroons, I'm not really sure) folded after 1905, Athletic Park played home to several semi-pro town team, industrial league teams and local school teams. The image below from the 1920 Olympia High School Annual, towards the end of Athletic Park.

Throughout 1903-1920, the grandstands of Athletic Park are almost totally absent from the pages of the Olympus (except for here), but these images show clearly the outfield wall and bleachers added to the park to round it out. The best image of the looming grandstands can be found here.

By the way, I was already working towards this conclusion a week or so ago, but a great discussion over at the Olympia Historical Society's Facebook page pushed me over the top.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Olyblogosphere links for Thursday, April 27, 2012 (home sick edition)

1. I could've mentioned this in the last update, but Terrence Knight (remember "The Sitting Duck?") is back.

Remember when he left? I wasn't too impressed. I'm still not all that impressed, his website is pretty bad. Needs some work. Like, its not 1999 sort of work. It seems like it would be harder to update html page like the one he's working on than update a page like the one he has set up here.

But, the videos themselves (shooting ordinance, Jim Lynch reading) and this article deserve praise. Good effort,  but help your readers and get the with the times.

2. Olympia Food Bloggers Bake Sale! For the Food Bank! Tomorrow (Friday, April 27) Both the Plum Palate and Pure Hunger are pointing this one out. Get yourself down there.

3. Its spring time, so its then time for Griffin Neighborhood to talk all about Scotch Broom.

4. And, shoot, everyone listen to this: a pilot podcast from David Raffin. Technically speaking Raffin does have podcast already, but its typically short clips from comedy shows.

But, this one is a proper podcast, with Raffin and a straight-man, topics and the whole thing. Its still very much David Raffin, but its the sort of long form podcast that I wish he'd do more of.

And, this is just me talking, but if Mathias Eichler were to start some sort of Maximum Fun podcast empire, this sort of long form Raffin is something I could get behind. Mathias is a busy man already, though.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

McCleary, you already had your canal

Its not my fault they were around 14,000 years ago.

This is very close detail of a map of the spillways of the Puget Lobe from this amazing document:

Sarah from McCleary Chronicles brings us the backup pipe dream of a shipping canal that would've passed through McCleary. The problem with the Puget Sound to Grays Harbor/Columbia River canals was always a lack of water and a lack of a good reason. Railroads and then highways sufficed.

In 1907 the Corps of Engineers pointed out that there just isn't enough water (sans glacier) for such a canal system to be realistic:
The quantity of water required at the summit would probably be nto less than 300 cubic feet per second, if the canal were used at all, and the problem of finding that quantity of water during the dry season would be a rather serious one. There is no stream of sufficient capacity in the neighborhood and a feeder would have to be brought many miles. While the percipitation in tehis section of the country is large, there is annually a dry season of two or three months, during which the streams become very low, and ample provision for water, either by storage or by a long feeder, would be required.
But, if you add one ice age with spillway rivers flowing through the Black River, Chehalis and Moxlie Creek basins, you suddenly have three entire waterways connecting Puget Sound (now as a glacial lake) with the Pacific Ocean. And, McCleary sitting almost dead center as a axis of trade. In this case, sight sears to the big glacier.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Baseball in Portland (really, but DIY)

The joke of this is that if Portland had a baseball team...

Well no, that's not the joke. The joke is that urbane Portlanders' understanding of sport in general (and baseball in this case) is closer to that of theater or the arts than of actual baseball or sports.

Its also a slight nod in the direction of the off again, on again fascination some have had in Portland to bring a MLB team to Portland. Horrible idea, by the way, if you're a Mariners fan. It might also be a nod to the city losing its minor league baseball team, in effect because the city went all in for soccer.

That said, it isn't like there isn't baseball already in Portland. Baseball in there in the form of not one, but two independent wood bat adult baseball leagues.

I suppose my point is that when people talk about bringing a sport to town, they often forget about these independent and local outposts of the sport. Typically, these leagues are amateur efforts. But, to me, they seem a lot closer to the town ball origins of baseball that people are really trying to get in touch with when they make the effort to go to a minor league game.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Olympia blogosphere links for April 22, 2012 (rarity edition)

1. Rock show at the library. Isn't exactly a rare thing, but man, only in Olympia, right? Snazzy Bouquet: Now I want a donut.

2. Happens so rarely, but this blog has something worth linking to. Thurston Pundits: Honoring local greatness

3. Steven Willis, of Evergroove Fame, goes back to Evergreen for a lecture. This sort of thing, when a local Evergreen alum connects back to the campus, happens too rarely. Morty the Dog: Evergreen Lecture.

4. Rare thing that a local business (thanks to Mathias) comes up with a blog posting idea that isn't just "hey look at this not so interesting project. Eyes of South Sound.

This is cool too me especially because for some reason I've been the guy in my family that was sent up on the roof for chores. Those roof shots are super cool.

5. And, something that doesn't fall into the rare theme at all, Janine Unsoeld writes an exhaustive post about the Scott Yoos thing. Little Hollywood: Scott Yoos Trial Scheduled For August 13

Friday, April 13, 2012

Numbers, natural resources management and Olympia

Happy Friday the 13th!

Somewhere in the bowels of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Ecology, there is a long running conspiracy. Hoods, nocturnal rituals and numerology.

The evidence is plain to see and the goal is some sort of curse on Olympia and nearby communities: