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Wrigley Field named National Historic Landmark

Wrigley Field 2019

Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, has been named a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior, honored as a nationally significant site in American history and culture.

Opening in 1914 as Weeghman Park as home of the Federal League’s Chicago Chi-Feds/Whales, Wrigley Field became the home of the Cubs in 1916 after the Federal League folded. But what opened in 1914 and used by the Cubs beginning in 1916 was not the same Wrigley Field as we visualize today: the original Wrigley Field as designed by Zachary Taylor Davis was a smaller single-decked facility. After assuming control of the Cubs, chewing-gum magnate William Wrigley hired Davis to oversee an expansion of the ballpark, splitting the grandstand in two and extending it down each line. (Wrigley also hired Davis to build the original Wrigley Field in Los Angeles. Davis also designed Comiskey Park and a Federal League ballpark in Brooklyn.) Wrigley Field is the oldest ballpark in the National League and the second-oldest in Major League Baseball, two years younger than Fenway Park.

Later renovations yielded permanent bleachers and the iconic center-field scoreboard. Most recently the ambitious 1060 Project began with structural repairs to the Wrigley Field steel and concrete infrastructure and ended up in 2019 with three new clubs, a host of new social spaces, new seating, a restoration of the exterior to something more closely resembling the original design, and an overhaul of the legendary outfield bleachers.

“Wrigley Field is a special place in the hearts of generations of fans,” said Chicago Cubs Executive Chairman Tom Ricketts in a press statement. “That’s why, from our first day as owners, we committed to preserving Wrigley, which will now take its well-earned place in the lineup of American history and culture as a national treasure.”

Besides hosting Cubs games, Wrigley Field also hosted the Chicago Bears from 1921 to 1970–helping to foster the young league from its early days to emergence as an established business–and is regarded as where the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League was born: Wrigley was a proponent and the league held tryouts there.

RELATED STORIES: Best of 2019, #10: Cubs Wrap Up Wrigley Field Renovations; Wrigley Field 1060 Project Ends on a High Note; #TBT: Zachary Taylor Davis

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