Play Ball! Remembering the Hanover Street Ball Park and the Summer of '08
This article was first printed in the November 1988 issue of the Fredericksburg Times magazine and appears here with the author's permission.
In the spring of 1908, Frederick W. Feuerherd, owner of Feuerherd's Quality Shop, the popular and elegant restaurant on Caroline Street in Fredericksburg, organized a baseball team known as the Fredericksburg White Socks, the latter term soon corrupted to "Sox." During the season from May until October, the team played a total of sixty-one games, winning forty-two, losing eighteen and having one tie. There was participation by twenty-six players. Until the middle of September, home games were played at the Athletic Grounds located on Cedar Lane near the fair grounds (now the Fair Grounds subdivision on Fall Hill Avenue).*
The regular attendance of five hundred or so White Sox rooters led to the formation of a syndicate known as the "Hanover Ball Park Company" which in July and August purchased three tracts of land on which to construct a ball park. The main tract was known as the Meadow Lot, located on the south side of Hanover Street west of Federal Hill and bordering the canal, which was on the present location of Kenmore Avenue. The previous owner was Flora Padberg, a resident of Delaware. The other two tracts were adjoining lots bounded by Charlotte Street and were purchased by Rose Kaufman and A. B. Bowering.
By the middle of September, a tall substantial fence enclosed the park, the field was graded in such a way as to provide a pond for winter skating and a commodious and comfortable grandstand was constructed. A record crowd was expected to be on hand for the grand opening which occurred with flags flying, a band of music and a parade at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, September 21.
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Dr. J. Garnett King delivered a welcoming address. He was followed by Dr. J. N. Barney who spoke on "The Physical Advantages of Athletics," after which the Reverend R. A. Williams told of "The Moral Features of Athletics."
The game between the Fredericksburg White Sox and the team from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania began at 4:15 p.m. when Mayor H. Lewis Wallace pitched the first ball before a crowd of eight hundred on the grounds and a like number watching from vantage points on neighboring hills.
Appropriately, the White Sox won, 10-1.
The Hanover Street Ball Park later became the site of the G & H Pants Factory [G & H Manufacturing Company] and today is the location of Mill Race Commons, which houses executive offices and individual luxury town homes.
*"the area annexed in the three parcels of land totaled 234 acres. The largest section, 176 acres, was the land between U.S. No. 1 bypass and the Rappahannock River from the Falmouth bridge to the VEPCO Canal. Included in this section were the locations of the Fredericksburg Shopping Center and the large residential development known as Normandy Village and the Fairgrounds subdivision.....The Fairgrounds subdivision, developed north of the U.S. No. 1 bypass between Fall Hill Avenue and the Rappahannock River where the old fairgrounds once were located, has streets that bear names well known in Fredericksburg history, namely, Wallace, Wellford, and Woodford."
Alvey, Edward. The Streets of Fredericksburg, page 73.