Built in 1912, Fenway Park is the oldest active Major League baseball park in the United States and one of only two remaining ballparks built during baseball’s “Golden Age.” Although generations of baseball stars such as Babe Ruth and Ted Williams have played in this stadium, Fenway Park largely has remained unchanged over the past century. The most noticeable and iconic change was the 1934 addition of a 37-foot wall with a 23-1/2-foot tall screen on top it in left field. With a coat of green paint in 1947, this wall transformed into the “Green Monstah” that greets Red Sox fans and tourists alike at Fenway Park.
Fenway Park’s architectural, historical, and cultural significance earned it a place on the National Register of Historic Places and consequently historic tax credit in 2012. It is currently pending Boston Local Landmark status. In addition to advocating for these two designations, the Boston Preservation Alliance nominated Fenway Park for the 2008 Sports Business Awards’ Sports Venue of the Year and awarded the ballpark a Special Commendation for Outstanding Stewardship at the 2005 Preservation Awards.
Despite these recent accolades, Fenway Park faced demolition in the late-1990s and early-2000s.The owners of the Red Sox proposed building a new stadium with more seats, luxury boxes, and amenities. In 1998, representatives of the Boston Preservation Alliance helped form Save Fenway Park! (SFP). As stated in its mission statement, this coalition of individuals and organizations wanted “to preserve the unique character of Fenway Park while allowing its modernization and expansion to meet contemporary needs.” Thus SFP! and the Alliance called for the renovation of the existing rather than the construction of a new Fenway Park. Through surveys, rallies, canvassing, and campaigns, SFP successfully gained public support, earned a National Trust Preservation Grant, and had the ballpark included on Historic Massachusetts’ Ten Most Endangered Historic Resources list. The Red Sox announced that they would make the historic Fenway Park their permanent home in 2005 after SFP and the Alliance proved that a renovated ballpark could provide additional seating and space at a lower cost than a new one.
Today Fenway Park remains one of Boston’s most popular tourist attractions and home to Boston’s favorite team within the structure that The New Yorker writer Roger Angell called “the best place in the world to watch baseball.”