Mount Vernon, New York
Memorial Field's boarded-up main entrance along Garden Avenue.
Memorial Field is Mount Vernon is a rare surviving example of a historic municipal stadium in the Hudson Valley region and the only one of its kind still intact in Westchester County. There were others, but they have been lost to commercial redevelopment. The Fairgrounds, once located along what is now Route 119 in an area of Greenburgh known as Fairview, was destroyed long ago and the property is now a strip mall.. The Yonkers Raceway, not far from Mount Vernon, demolished its grandstand in the early 2000s in order to build a new enclosed area with gaming machines.
Field is the kind of place that the so-called "retro ballparks" of in
the 1990s copied their basic designs from, yet this stadium does not seem to
receive its due attention, both in terms of its history and architecture, and in
its needs of maintenance and upkeep.
Memorial Field consists of one brick and limestone grandstand building running on a north-south axis parallel to garden Avenue. The facade is punctuated by a series of twelve Romanesque arches flanking either side of the main entrance. Along the lower level below the bleachers are restrooms and the building's power plant. Unfortunately it seems that the City of Mount Vernon does not care to, or does not appropriate the funds to, properly maintain and use this building. The main entrance doors are boarded up and access to that area is prohibited, as is the section immediately below the main entrance.
The 3,900 "seat" bleacher-style grandstand overlooks twelve acres of playing fields and a running track, with an adjacent tennis court. The Mount Vernon High School football team calls Memorial Field home, and in addition, the site has, over the last seven decades, hosted semi-pro football, baseball, soccer, community events, and even a Jackson Five concert. A ticket booth greets "customers" at the corner of Garden Avenue and Sanford Boulevard, and a concessions stand is located just inside the entrance. Another building, likely the visiting team's dressing room / restroom, stands at the southeast corner of the field.
In 1993, Westchester County entered into talks with the city of Mount Vernon to acquire and rebuild Memorial Field as a professional revenue-generating stadium. At the time, newspaper articles painted a picture of decay, citing graffiti and flaking paint as reasons why the site should be redeveloped. Apparently, bleachers behind the visiting team's bench were demolished at that time. In addition, The press box at the top of the bleachers is sealed shut. The deal did not proceed and Memorial Field remains property of the City of Mount Vernon, but land across Sanford Boulevard was redeveloped for a shopping center. Memorial Field is not quite the wreck it has been portrayed as, but rather is a gem not being utilized to its full potential.
Of note, two plaques flank the main entrance to the building:
South plaque: "IN COMMEMORATION OF / WILLIAM D. MacQUESTEN / MAYOR OF MOUNT
VERNON / 1924-1928 / TO WHOSE UNTIRING EFFORTS IN / ITS PROMOTION, THE REALIZATION
OF / MEMORIAL FIELD / WAS MADE POSSIBLE"
North plaque :"MEMORIAL FIELD / DEDICATED / TO THE MEMORY OF / THE MOUNT VERNON
VETERANS / OF ALL WARS, / JUNE 13, 1931."
Near the southwest corner entrance is a boulder commemorating the Revolutionary War era occupation of the site by Glover's Brigade, the October 17, 1776 encampment of the continental Army prior to the battle at nearby Pelham. A marker reads:
"ON THE ADJACENT HILLSIDE / 'GLOVER'S BRIGADE' / OF THE / CONTINENTAL ARMY /
CAMPED / OCTOBER 17, 1776, / ENGAGING IN THE BATTLE AT / PELHAM MANOR / THE
FOLLOWING DAY. / ------------------ / THIS TABLET IS ERECTED BY THE / MOUNT VERNON
ROTARY CLUB / 1926"
UPDATE SEPTEMBER 4, 2009:
Mount Vernon and Westchester County officials have announced plans for the "renovation of Memorial Field - the plans for which call for the demolition of the stadium at Memorial Field.
Source Article: "Memorial Field stadium is city icon," by Hannan Adely. the Journal News, August 2, 2009.
These photographs were taken
November 21, 2006.
Garden Avenue facade.
Railing to the now off-limits middle level of the grandstand interior.
Grandstand upper level, behind the closed-off press box.
Light tower as seen from Garden Avenue.
Ticket booth at the southwest corner of the property.
Yaz’ Hudson Valley Ruins and Abandoned Buildings, etc.
This page copyright © 2006 by Robert
Copying or reproducing text or photographs, in any format, without permission from Rob Yasinsac is prohibited.