Breese Stevens Field
Breese Stevens Field is the oldest playing field in Madison, Wisconsin, located northeast of the Wisconsin State Capitol. Until the mid-1960s, this was the only city park with lights. Almost all major outdoor athletic events took place here, including all Madison high school football games. In the 1940s, the field was home to the minor league baseball team Madison Blues of the Triple-I League. It is believed that Warren Spahn, the great left-handed pitcher for the Milwaukee Braves, played here as a member of the Evansville Bees of the Three-I League in the early 1940s when they opposed the Madison Blues. "Breese," as it is known, has also hosted circuses, midget car racing, ice skating, track and field, Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps competitions, concerts, even boxing and wrestling events. By the late 1960s, Breese Stevens Field lost its status as the city's premier athletic complex as modern facilities, such as Mansfield Stadium, began to appear in suburban Madison. It is currently home to Edgewood College and the Madison 56ers amateur soccer team. It has also hosted Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association's girls soccer tournaments in recent years and an exhibition match of Australian Football between the Milwaukee Bombers and Minnesota Freeze. The city purchased the land for the field in 1923 and built the brick grandstand in 1925. The original grandstand structure, designed by the Madison architectural firm of Claude and Starck in the Mediterranean Revival style, was constructed from 1925 to 1926 and formally dedicated on May 5, 1926. The blueprints for Breese Stevens Field (grandstand) are located in the manuscript division of the Elmer Anderson library on the west bank campus of the University of Minnesota. The exterior surrounding stone wall was built in 1934 as a project of the Civil Works Administration using quarry rock from Hoyt Park. The concrete bleachers were also built in 1934, and the wood-press box was added in 1939. The field is named in honor of Breese Stevens (1834-1903), a New York native who came to Wisconsin in 1856 to look after family land interests. Stevens became mayor of Madison in 1884 and a University of Wisconsin”“Madison regent in 1891. This complex is a Madison Landmark and was nominated by the Madison Trust in 1995.