Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Municipal Stadium Origins

During the 1890s, the Waterbury Driving Park opened on Watertown Avenue. Leased from the City by the Waterbury Driving Company, it hosted races for horses, cyclists, and runners; football games for high schools; and baseball games for city teams.

Bridgeport Sunday Herald, 6 September 1896

Bridgeport Herald, 11 July 1897
Bridgeport Herald, 2 September 1900

Bridgeport Herald, 14 Aug 1904
A.J. Patton, Map of the City of Waterbury, 1909

The Driving Park got a $400,000 makeover in 1939, when the City took over its operations. A granite stadium was built and the park was renamed the Waterbury Municipal Stadium. The first event to be held at the Municipal Stadium was the Connecticut State Police Association's annual convention, two days of athletics which included a track meet, a gymnastic exhibition by the Waterbury Turnverein, a girls' softball game, and a parade led by the Mattatuck fife and drum corps.

Municipal Stadium continued to be used for the same functions as its predecessor, the Driving Park. Those activities included competitive sports (even boxing matches), circus performances, and rallies.

The New London Evening Day, 4 August 1939

Hartford Courant, 20 August 1939

Hartford Courant, 28 June 1942

Bridgeport Sunday Herald, 22 June 1952

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