The Last Days of Cleveland Municipal Stadium

Growing up I remember going to Cleveland Municipal Stadium or as some call it the lady by the lake on a few occasions to see Cleveland Indians baseball games.  I remember how vast the stadium was and the annoying pillars that were located throughout the stadium that would block the view of parts of the field for the spectators.  I also recall getting a full size baseball bat (which I still have) on bat day at a baseball game and getting an autograph from the Indian’s Cory Snyder.  Although I went to a few baseball games at the stadium, I never went to a Cleveland Brown’s football game.

The stadium lasted for 65 years on the lake before it met the wrecking ball in 1996.  I never thought it would be demolished given how long it stood by the lake, but it was probably time.  The Cleveland Indians played their last game there in 1993 and had moved into Jacob’s Field (yes I will always call it by this name) and the Cleveland Brown’s continued to play there until 1995 when they were moved to a certain east coast city known for their crab cakes.

After the Browns left, the City of Cleveland worked to get another NFL team and set in motion plans to replace Cleveland Municipal Stadium so the new team could take the field in the fall of 1999.  So after 65 years of standing by the lake and watching the changing skyline, the stadium would soon have a date with the wrecking ball to make way for a new stadium.

My grandfather took photographs of many projects that were going on in downtown Cleveland over the years and kept an interest in what was going on within the city.  He and my grandmother took me downtown in early October 1996 to photograph the stadium before it was torn down.

The first stop was near a parking off of Front Street in the Flats to capture Gate A of the stadium.

 

From there we moved on around the stadium to capture different sides.

Gate A

Gate A

Gate D

Gate D

Gate C

Gate C

My favorite location to photograph the stadium was on top of the Cleveland City Hall parking garage.  The Amtrak train station is in the foreground.

 

As the wrecking ball began to take swings at the stadium, my grandparents and I would make weekly trips downtown to check on the progress and to capture it on film.

These photographs were captured on Kodak Plus-X, ISO 125 B&W film.  I developed the film and printed the photographs myself in our home darkroom.  These are scans of the original negatives.  

Thanks for taking the time to read this and please feel free to leave comments or your memories of the stadium below.

Regards,

David