Here’s another entry in the list of ballparks built especially for Negro league teams, joining Central Baseball Park and Greenlee Field (Pittsburgh), Giants Park and Stars Park (St. Louis), Lewis Park (Memphis), and Tate Field (Cleveland), among others. After playing a season at Island Park, a once and future semipro venue located on Van Slyck Island in the Mohawk River, the Schenectady Mohawk Giants were taken over in 1914 by a local businessman named Samuel R. Flansburgh. He determined to build the Mohawks their own park in Rotterdam, just beyond Schenectady’s southern boundary, at the end of the Broadway trolley line.
(Schenectady Gazette, March 25, 1914, p. 12)
Work was completed by the end of April, and Mohawk Park was opened on Saturday, May 2, by a game between the Mohawks and a new club, the New York Colored Giants. The Mohawks crushed them 17 to 0, and then followed up with a more restrained 10 to 2 victory on Sunday. Unfortunately this would be the last major black club to visit Schenectady in 1914, a marked contrast with 1913, which saw the Paterson Smart Set, New York Lincoln Giants, Philadelphia Giants, Brooklyn Royal Giants, and Cuban Giants of Buffalo all visit Island Park. Forced into a long road trip to find opponents, the Mohawks hemorrhaged money and finally fell apart in August.
(Schenectady Gazette, August 11, 1914, p. 7)
It turns out that the Mohawks’ troubles may have been caused by the Schenectady County sheriff, Louis A. Welch, who was determined to stop Sunday baseball at Mohawk Park. After the season Flansburgh actually sued Welch (unsuccessfully) for damaging his business.
(Schenectady Gazette, November 11, 1914, p. 12)
Flansburgh lost his lease on Mohawk Park the following year, but the ballpark continued to exist for a number of years, renamed Electric City Park, after the larger amusement complex on whose grounds it had been built.