Recreation Park

Recreation Park, originally known as Union Park, was a stadium located in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, before its 1907 annexation into the city of Pittsburgh, in the latter 19th century to the early 20th century. It was the first official home to the Pittsburgh Pirates, the city's Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise. It also hosted the football team of the University of Pittsburgh, then known as the Western University of Pennsylvania. In November 1892, the Park hosted the first ever professional American football game, between two local teams. After sporting events had ceased, Recreation Park was renamed the Pittsburgh Coliseum and was used as "a wooden saucer for motor-paced bicycle riding". There are no known pictures of the full park in existence.


Recreation Park originally had a capacity of 2,500, but later expanded its wooden grandstands to allow 17,000 spectators. The stadium stood at the corner of North, Grant, and Pennsylvania Avenues on Pittsburgh's Northside.


Prior to 1876, three amateur Pittsburgh baseball teamsâthe Enterprise Club, the Xanthas, and the Olympicsâcompeted, most often at Recreation Park. In 1876 an Allegheny club, which can be traced to the modern-day Pittsbyrgh Pirates, but not affiliated with any organized league, played its first game against Xanthus at Union Park, winning 7-3. The first major league team to play at Recreation Park was the Pittsburgh Stogies, of the Union Association. The Stogies relocated from Chicago in 1884, lasting one season at Recreation Park. Due to flooding in Exposition Park II from its close proximity to the Allegheny River, the Pittsburgh Alleghenies of the American Association moved to Recreation Park in 1884. The team posted a 18â37 record at home throughout the 1884 season, finishing 12th overall in the league. In 1887, Alleghenies's owner William A. Nimick moved the team from the American Association to the National League. On April 30, 1887, the Alleghenies defeated the Chicago White Stockings by a score of 6â2 in front of 10,000 spectators, in the first official contest of the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise. Prior to one game in the 1887 season Pittsburgh's catcher, Fred Carroll, buried his pet monkey beneath home plate. The lowest attended game at the park came on April 23, 1890, when six specatators watched the Pirates play the Cleveland Spiders. In 1891, after the collapse of the Pittsburgh Burghers baseball franchise of the Players' League, the Alleghenys moved to Exposition Park III which had been constructed for the Burghers.


On November 12, 1892, Recreation Park hosted a game between the Allegheny Athletic Association football team and the Pittsburgh Athletic Club. The Allegheny Athletic Association won the game, which was the first in professional football. In 1902, a Pittsburgh Pirates-backed football team, the Pittsburgh Stars of the first National Football League, played all of its home games at the field, now called the Coliseum. The Stars would go on to win the league's only championship against the Philadelphia Athletics, by a score of 11-0, at the field. In 2001, the Pittsburgh Steelers constructed Heinz Field blocks from the site of Recreation Park.

The Western University of Pennsylvania (WUP), known today as the University of Pittsburgh, played their first game of the 1898 season at Recreation Park. The team defeated Wesminster 5â0. However, the following season on October 15, Wesminster would beat the WUP, 6â0, at Recreation Park. Though the WUP began playing games at Exposition Park as early as 1900, games were still hosted at Recreation Park, until the University signed an exclusive contract with Exposition Park in 1904.

External Links
  • Pittsburg Press article adjoining in-game photo of early WUP-Ohio football game at Recreation Park


Building Activity

  • Georgi Sokolov
    Georgi Sokolov updated
    about 7 years ago via
  • james hallas
    james hallas updated a digital reference
    about 7 years ago via
  • Alex Baeza
    Alex Baeza updated a digital reference
    about 7 years ago via
  • updated and updated 2 digital references
    about 7 years ago via