The city of Boston is the perfect destination for historians. Whether you’re trying to observe some of the many landmarks along the freedom trail, dine at one of America’s oldest restaurants, or attend a baseball game at Fenway Park; Boston has it all.
But for sports historians, the city’s roots lie deeper than just a pilgrimage to Yawkey Way. Throughout the city, there are three historic sites which hold a special place in Boston sports lore – Nickerson Field, Matthews Arena, and the Cy Young statue.
A trip to Boston for ultimate sports fans wouldn’t really be complete without a trip to these three locations. All four of Boston’s major sports franchises got their start at one of these places as did the Atlanta Braves organization.
The journey begins with a quick trip on the Green Line B-Branch to Pleasant Street. While a shiny, new Agganis Arena gleams at the street corner, down Harry Agganis Way appears an ivy-covered grandstand. Towering over the BU Police Station is the final remnant of Nickerson Field, once home of the Boston Braves baseball team and Boston Patriots football team.
The current police station building was formerly utilized as the team offices with a pathway to the field carved out under the stands. Behind the police headquarters sits Braves Plaza. During Nickerson’s heyday, trolley cars flooded this area dropping off fans ready to cheer on the hometown team.
In the early 1950s, the team moved away leaving the stadium abandoned. But in 1960 a new American Football League team, the Boston Patriots, moved in for its first three seasons in existence. Since then, the stadium has been home to soccer and lacrosse franchises as well as BU athletics.
While the trolleys have made way for the rat-race of Boston University students, the plaza contains a plaque dedicating the former site of the Braves and Patriots. The lone seating area remaining served as the right field grandstand during its baseball days and the concourse remains primarily untouched since the Braves left.
Hopping back on the Green Line, the next stop is along the E-Branch at the Symphony station. Nestled on St. Botolph Street just across from Symphony Hall, is Matthews Arena. Now the home to Northeastern ice hockey, the 107-year-old building once served as the original tenant for the Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics.
The arena has been renovated since its days as a professional arena, but the vestibule and lobby remain primarily the same as they were when the building opened. Inside, the lower seating bowl has been updated with improved chairs and a state-of-the-art media center.
The building, albeit modernized, still shows signs of its age. The wooden roof and steel rafters cavernously overhang the rink below. The upper deck hangs low over the bottom bowl, providing obstructed views for several fans in the back rows. Up top, the ends remain free-standing areas for fans to congregate and hang over the edge of the ice.
Reminders of its past tenants still beckon as banners dedicating the Celtics and Bruins hang in the arena. But those two teams weren’t the only pro teams to occupy a spot on Northeastern’s campus. Just up the road sits the former site of Huntington Avenue Grounds, the first home of the Boston Red Sox.
Though the stadium itself is long gone, a statue of Red Sox legend Cy Young is placed appropriately on World Series Way behind Northeastern University’s Cabot Center. The Red Sox won the 1903 World Series at Huntington Grounds and played there through the 1911 season before moving to Fenway.
The Cy Young statue is situated right where the pitcher’s mound was at Huntington Grounds. 60.6 feet away in the courtyard is a bronze plaque of home plate jutting out of the grass with an encryption stating how the first ever World Series was played at the site.
The final commemoration on the site is 350 feet from the plate on the side of the Cabot Center where a sign marks the location of the left field foul pole.
Not just perfect for Boston sports fans, these three destinations, all within walking distance of each other and accessible by public transportations, present a slice of history. From the World Series to the Stanley Cup and even the NBA Finals, these three sports mausoleums are places where avid fanatics and history buffs should definitely visit.