The History and Preservation of Fenway Park

Fenway Park
Photo by InSapphoWeTrust on Flickr

Regardless of your baseball allegiances and even if you aren’t a fan of the sport at all, Fenway Park is one of the most historic sports landmarks still in use today. It is the oldest major league ballpark still holding games in the country and has been the home of the Boston Red Sox since its opening in 1912. You may know all the history about the Red Sox as a team, but how much do you know about their home? Here’s a little history lesson on the architecture and structure of one of America’s most beloved ballparks.

Fenway Park was originally designed by James McLaughlin at the request of John I. Taylor, then owner of the Red Sox, and began construction in September 1911. There is much speculation as to where Fenway Park actually got its name – Taylor claimed it came from the park’s location in the filled-marshland or “fens” area of Boston known as the Fenway neighborhood, though one cannot dismiss the fact that Taylor’s family owned the Fenway Realty Company. The park took a year to complete and the first game was played on April 20, 1912. Unfortunately, coverage of the game was overshadowed by the Titanic sinking just a few days earlier. On January 5, 1934, a major fire broke out and destroyed much of the Fenway Park construction, however when it reopened on April 17, the park had been restored and was free of damage.

Fenway Park during the 1914 World Series
Photo Courtesy of Boston Public Library on Flickr

There have been several renovations, expansions and changes to Fenway Park in its history, leading to a variety of unique architectural elements and features, including:

  • The Green Monster
    Part of the original 1912 construction, The Green Monster is the nickname for the left field wall in the park. Standing at 37.167 feet, the wall is made of wood which was then covered in tin and concrete in 1934 and again in 1976 with hard plastic. The wall was painted green in 1947 and in previous years had paid advertisements to appeal to the crowds.
  • The Triangle
    One of the less obvious yet still highly unique features of Fenway Park is The Triangle, a region of center field where the walls form a distinct triangular section of seating.
  • Pesky’s Pole
    One of two foul poles in the stadium, Pesky’s Pole marks the right field foul line and was named after former player and coach Johnny Pesky who hit some of his home runs around but never off of the pole.

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk at Fenway Park

With all the distinct characteristics and architectural nuances that form the structure of Fenway Park, the potential for pest bird infestation is a major concern. Native red-tailed hawks have done a great job of ridding the park of unwanted birds. Hawks and similar predators are a wonderful form of green pest control, but it is very rare to find predators that naturally stay around the area that the pest control is needed. Luckily for Fenway Park, the red-tailed hawks have been staying around for years, preying on pest birds whose droppings threaten the park and patrons during game time. Pigeons love to nest inside the various nooks and crannies created by the overhead canopies through the years. However, after having recently installed a suspended ceiling over the prime seating area behind home plate, small openings were left around the canopy beams. The problem? Pigeons can fit through and fly into these openings to nest while the red-tailed hawks are too large and cannot get to them to scare them away.

 
BirdMaster was asked to come in and tackle the issue to keep pigeonsĀ out of these openings and return the pest control to the red-tailed hawks. BirdMaster’s team of bird control experts installed PermaMesh, a custom-fitted stainless steel mesh bird control system. This zero maintenance bird exclusion system prevents birds of all sizes from venturing into the openings to nest and instead sends them on their way. BirdMaster successfully turned the pest control reins back over to the red-tailed hawks who have shown that Fenway Park not only has a Green Monster but also green pest bird control, It’s a win-win for the Sox and the hawks.

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