Music - Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen and the E. Street band
DISCLAIMER - Photos WITHOUT my watermark are not mine and were found on the internet. And are NOT FOR SALE.
Roosevelt Stadium - Opened 1937, closed 1982 and demolished in 1985. Full name - Jersey City Roosevelt Stadium. Society Hill gated community now occupies the site.
Location - New Jersey State route 440 and Danforth Rd. Jersey City, New Jersey.
Disclaimer - I only shot 3 of the photos for Roosevelt Stadium. It was torn down before I saw the site in 1995. All other photos were found on the Internet.
The location where New Jersey State route 440 and Danforth Road meet has a historical past. You would never now it now, since the site is dotted with condos and a park. At one time, this area known as Droyers point, housed a stadium. Roosevelt stadium to be exact. This minor league feel park was the site of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in professional baseball on April 18, 1946. He was playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers triple A team, the Montreal Royals at the time. BUT, Droyers point had a history even before Roosevelt stadium was built.
In the 1920s this 19 acre parcel of land in the Greenville section of Jersey City was used as the Jersey City airport. Unfortunately, the airport fell on hard times in the early 30's. By 1935 Jersey City was deep into the depression, along with poverty and unemployment. In 1937, with the help of President Roosevelt and the "new deal," the stadium was built. The Jersey City airport was no more. A brand new sparkling 24,000 seat stadium arose from the runways.
While the stadium was used mostly for prep football and minor league baseball, the occasional heavyweight fight was held there. In 1940, Max Baer (YEP Jethro's dad) beat "two ton" Tony Galento, and in 1951 Jersey Joe Walcott beat heavyweight champion Ezzard Charles.
From 1937 to 1950, the park was home to the Jersey City Giants, a triple A farm team of the New York Giants. It was also home to the Jersey City Indians of the Double-A Eastern League in 1977 and, following a change in minor-league affiliation, the Jersey City A's of the Eastern league in 1978. It was here on that April day in 1947 that Jack Roosevelt Robinson made his pro debut. He went 4 for 5 with a home run and two stolen bases, and the color line had been FINALLY broken. The stadium however was not named for him. It was named for President Franklin Roosevelt, who authored the new deal and helped get the park built.
The main claim to fame for Roosevelt Stadium was the OTHER home of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Walter O'Malley was trying to secure a new park for the Dodgers in Brooklyn, so as part of his negotiating tactics, he scheduled seven "home" games there in 1956 and 1957. He claimed the stadium had parking for 12,000 cars while Ebbets field only had 700. The tactic didn't work as the Dodgers left Brooklyn for good after the 1957 season.
Roosevelt was also a training camp home to the New York football Giants. During the 70's and 80's, the main income was from rock concerts. In 1978, a thirty-foot light tower fell off the roof, which weakened the stadium's exterior walls and light towers. The stadium was in such a bad state of disrepair that it was finally demolished in 1985.
After the demolition, the site was once again re developed. This time condos went up. A new gated community called Society Hill opened in 1987. On April 17, 1996, the Hovnanian corporation placed a plaque in the gazebo at Society Hill to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the opening game of baseball at Roosevelt Stadium, as well as Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier.
If you ever find yourself in Jersey City, head on over to SR 440 and Danforth Road. History was made on that patch of land. Thank you Jackie Robinson!
Roosevelt stadium in its heyday. The Hackensack river is in the background.
Roosevelt stadium site at Droyers point today. 4/95
An aerial of the old stadium right before demolition. You can tell how much deterioration has occurred.
Aerial view of where the park once stood. It is now condos. Photo from internet.
You can see the stadium at the upper left of the corner. It looks in disrepair and set for demolition. Photo from internet.
The entrance to Roosevelt stadium. The stadium would have been in back of this photo. Photo from internet.
Another shot of where the park once stood. 4/95
The main entrance and ticket booths.
Jersey City Mayor Frank Hague throws out the first pitch.
Walter Alston manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and Mayo Smith manager of the Philadelphia Phillies in 1956. Smith would later go on to manage the Detroit Tigers to the 1968 world championship.
Roosevelt stadium in disrepair. Abandoned and neglected, waiting for the end.
The main entrance is now a mess. The gates are broken and graffiti is evident. So are all the busted out windows.
Another entrance vandalized.
Bricks are falling off the siding, gates are rusted. Not a nice way to go out.
The left field bleachers, or what's remained.
Bleacher seats that have long since been removed.
The once ornate seats of Roosevelt stadium.
Seats with broken slats and rust.
Coolers that once stored ice and food store rats and garbage now.
Peeling paint, rust, broken lights all tell the tale of a park left to die.
Hard to believe that at one time thousands of people made their way into this facility.
Weeds and trees engulf the once proud park.
A shot from what was once centerfield.
From the top concourse you can see how the seating bowl looked.
Waiting for the end to come.
A better shot of the decay.
A shot of the pressbox with the windows and panels missing.
You can see the pressbox at the top. Also, most of the seats are now gone.
The once mighty scoreboard is now crumbling.
The outline of the diamond is still there, but the grass is gone.
What is left of one of the dugouts.
A concession stand where hot dogs and beer were purchased, now sits broken and crumbling.
An eerie ramp leading to the upper seating area.
A storage area under the stands abandoned and neglected.
The main concourse, littered and dirty.
A ramp leading to the seating bowl.
Stairs that lead to the roof and pressbox are now covered with trash.
The roof and what is left of the pressbox.
Part of the outfield wall that is overgrown with weeds.
A last look at Roosevelt stadium in it's heyday.
Ironically, a baseball diamond is now part of the Society Hill housing development. 4/95