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Wisconsin Historical Society

National or State Registers Record

917 East Mifflin Street

National or State Register of Historic Places
917 East Mifflin Street | National or State Registers Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
NAMES
Historic Name:Breese Stevens Municipal Athletic Field
Reference Number:15000502
PROPERTY LOCATION
Location (Address):917 East Mifflin Street
County:Dane
City/Village:Madison
Township:
SUMMARY
Breese Stevens Municipal Athletic Field
917 East Mifflin Street, Madison, Dane County, WI
Architects: Claude & Starck; Civil Works Administration
Dates of Construction: 1925, 1934

Breese Stevens Municipal Athletic Field is located just eight blocks east of the Wisconsin State Capitol Building. The most prominent features of the Breese Stevens Municipal Athletic Field are the C-shaped 1925 Claude and Starck angled brick grandstand, the 1934 CWA concrete bleachers, and 1934 CWA perimeter stone wall. Breese Stevens Municipal Athletic Field is the oldest city owned and operated athletic field in the City of Madison. It is also the oldest extant masonry grandstand in Wisconsin. This facility has been in continuous use since its opening day on May 5, 1926.

The facility was originally designed as a baseball stadium. In the 1920s baseball had become America’s favorite pastime and Madison was no different in their enthusiasm for the game. With the onset of the Great Depression and then World War II, baseball was the country’s most popular social activity and many followed baseball as an escape from the reality of the times. From 1940 to 1942, a minor league team known as the Madison Blues, who played in the Three-I League, played their home games at Breese Stevens Municipal Athletic Field. The Madison Blues were a farm team for the Chicago Cubs. Summer try-outs were held at the field in the late 1940’s for such teams as the Philadelphia Phillies and the St. Louis Cardinals. Until the 1960s, the field was the only lighted field in Madison.

This facility has been in continuous use since 1926 for baseball, high school football and soccer. However, as an entertainment facility a multitude of venues from midget car racing, concerts, circuses, track and field events, religious services and drum and bugle corps competitions have been held at the field.

Breese Stevens Municipal Athletic Field has had a very personal relationship with the citizens of Madison. In 1980, the City of Madison budgeted $60,000 to tear down the stadium. Residents spoke out loudly that they did not want to see Breese Stevens Municipal Athletic Field destroyed. Madison citizens encouraged that their tax payer dollars be used to fund restoration and rehabilitation of the field. The monies which were earmarked to demolish the field were used to repair this popular facility. The City of Madison is very proud of its decision not to tear down this facility. Breese Stevens Municipal Athletic Field continues to provide the community a variety of sporting events as well as other entertainment venues.

PROPERTY FEATURES
Period of Significance:1928-1964
Area of Significance:Entertainment/Recreation
Applicable Criteria:Event
Historic Use:Recreation And Culture: Sport Facility
Architectural Style:Late 19th And 20th Century Revivals
Resource Type:Structure
Architect:Claude & Starck
Architect:Civil Works Administration
DESIGNATIONS
Historic Status:Listed in the State Register
Historic Status:Listed in the National Register
National Register Listing Date:08/03/2015
State Register Listing Date:11/21/2014
NUMBER OF RESOURCES WITHIN PROPERTY
Number of Contributing Buildings:0
Number of Contributing Sites:0
Number of Contributing Structures:3
Number of Contributing Objects:0
Number of Non-Contributing Sites:0
Number of Non-Contributing Structures:3
Number of Non-Contributing Objects:0
RECORD LOCATION
National Register and State Register of Historic Places, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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National Register of Historic Places Citation
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