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September 9, 2009

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Bill Mullins

Alexander McDonald William's Petition for Naturalization is at Ancestry.com. DoB = 23 Mar 1883, he came to America on the Leeland line. Left Bridgetown Barbados on 15 Aug 1903, arrived NY on 25 Aug 1903. His wife is Margaret (DoB = 20 Mar 1884), sons Bailey (DoB = 17 Apr 1916) and McDonald (DoB = 13 Nov 1918). On his Declaration of Intention to Naturalize (15 July 1919) he listed his occupation as Billiard Table Repairman. On the actual Petition (1 Aug 1921) his occupation is Manager Cental [sic] Baseball Park.

Gary Ashwill

Great minds think alike, obviously!

I'd love to see those aerial photos.

Geri Strecker

I found Central Amusement Park in the G. M. Hopkins Company Maps Collection, through the Historic Pittsburgh website. It's in Plate 22 B of the 1923 map. The URL is beastly long, but to find the map, go to the Historic Pittsburgh Map Collection website: http://digital.library.pitt.edu/maps
From there, select the G. M. Hopkins Company Maps. Scroll down to "Real estate plat-book of the city of Pittsburgh," Volume I [1923]. Open up the link to "all plates" and select 22B. You'll find the park southeast of the intersection of Wylie and Chauncey. An added bonus: the map shows the grandstand footprint, so we know how the field was oriented on the site! If you haven't used the Historic Pittsburgh Maps collection before, you are in for a treat!

Geri Strecker

In June, I found a stash of aerial and ground photographs of Greenlee Field, taken in 1938 by the architects who were preparing to demolish the ballpark to build the Bedford Dwellings housing project. The photographs will all be featured in a "biography" of Greenlee Field in the next issue of "Black Ball: A Negro Leagues Journal." One aerial image clearly shows both Ammon Field and Greenlee Field, including the orientation of the diamonds on the sites. I also see the vestiges of what could have been a diamond in the northwest corner of the block bordered by Junilla (west), Webster (north), Chauncey (east) and Wylie (south). To see where Greenlee Field once was, look at a current Google Earth or other satellite map. The field occupied the block north of Bedford between Junilla and Watt Street (not Watt Lane). Look for the fanned-out pattern of four buildings on the northeastern part of the lot--they were built directly on the original playing field. Another tidbit--Greenlee Field was also designed by a black architect. I talk about him in the article.

Bill Mullins

If you use the maps feature in Microsoft's Bing search engine, you not only can get the overhead view that Google Maps has, but a bird's eye view (like looking out of a plane downward at 45 degrees) from North, South, East and West directions. Unfortunately, the Central Park location looks less like a former ball field from these views.

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