Thursday, January 14, 2010

I'm With the Band

This delightful postcard recently surfaced on eBay. Postmarked 1910, it shows an excellent view of the wooden grandstand of Athletic Park (as the Orchard was known at the time).

The card was sent to a Mr. Hugo Koenig of Watertown.

The back reads:
Hello Hugo -

Picture of the Base Ball Park Ice Rink Band - Bleachers in the rear

In its early days, Borchert Field was used for far more than just baseball. The field was flooded in wintertime and used as a skating rink. The rink was run by Henry Sperber, who also operated the concessions during baseball season. When Sperber hoisted a white flag with large blue circle up the left field foul pole, neighborhood skaters would know that the ice was ready.

This is the first I've heard of a brass band to entertain the skaters, but we shouldn't be surprised to see this from the man who ran a bar behind home plate during games (reportedly the best views in the entire park were from his barstools).

In or out of the baseball season, Athletic Park had a long history of providing Milwaukeeans with a pleasant afternoon's entertainment.

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