Fenway Park is the home of the Boston Red Sox, the city’s only Major League Baseball team. Built in 1912, the ballpark is known for its asymmetrical design and quirky traditions, making it a top tourist spot even for non-baseball fans.
The park is located in the Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood of Boston. Red Sox owner John I. Taylor liked the area when he was looking for a place to move the team from its previous grounds on Huntington Avenue. In 1911, he purchased the 365,000 square-foot land that became Fenway Park at public auction.
The park was a rush of a building job. With just seven months until the start of the baseball season, the groundbreaking took place on September 25 even though the city had not yet granted Taylor a building permit.
Chief architect James McLaughlin wanted to use every bit of land that he could in the construction of the ballpark. Its dimensions are unusual and marked by features such as the Green Monster, a 37-foot tall wall in left field. According to Fenway Park historians, it was rumored that no one could hit a home run over the wall — but it happened just six days after its opening on April 20, 1912.
The inaugural season for the Red Sox was a victorious one, bringing in nearly 600,000 spectators. The team won over 105 regular season games, capturing the American League pennant and winning the World Series.
Though known primarily for its baseball, Fenway Park has long been a venue for other sporting and cultural events. It hosted numerous high school and intercollegiate games from the start, but also went on to feature Boston’s first open-air boxing match between Battling McCreery and John Lester Johnson in 1920. Today, soccer, basketball, football and hockey games all take place behind its walls.
Fenway Park has also become a sellout venue for concerts, beginning with Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles in 1973. Since then, musicians including Lady Gaga, Pearl Jam, The Who, Paul McCartney, James Taylor, Dave Matthews Band, Bruce Springsteen and the Zac Brown Band have all played at the park.
In 2008, Fenway welcomed 3,000 new citizens to Boston in its first naturalization ceremony, an event that continues to be held at the complex every year.
Still, millions of fans mostly come for the Red Sox and to experience the traditions that are famous at Fenway Park, including the singing of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” in the middle of the 8th inning. Tourists can also see the “Lone Red Seat” in the park that marks the longest home run ever hit at Fenway, scored by Ted Williams in 1946. The stadium is also home to one of the few remaining manually-turned scoreboards.
During its 100-year anniversary celebration, Fenway Park was added to the National Register of Historic Places, highlighted as one of the last standing complexes built during the “Golden Age of Ballparks.”