This Day In Norwood History-April 1

60.000-Seat Stadium Planned

Baseball (If Sox Agree), Football Slated At $10 Million Norwood Sport Palace

Motels, Golf, Pool, Stores Proposed

PROPOSED SPORTS STADIUM in Norwood shows spacious parking facilities and site of planned swimming pool in lowe center.

Tue, Apr 1, 1958 – The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts)

Plans were announced today for the construction of a $10 million all-purpose sports center — complete with motel units, retractable roof, restaurant, swimming pool and stores —in Norwood on Route 1 near Route 128, adjoining the Norwood Airport.

The dream stadium is the brainchild of William H. Sullivan Jr. of Wellesley, president of Metropolitan Coal Co., and former nationally-known public relations man.

Backing the enterprise are the Hampden-Harvard brewing Co. and Peter Doelger, Inc., real estate and construction firm of New York.

Building of the ultra-modern sports palace is contingent only on an agreement by Tom Yawkey to move the Red Sox from Fenway Park.

At a press conference this morning Sullivan said. “We feel very strongly that without the Red Sox this will not be a reality.”

He explained that announcement of the plans at this time was in no wav a “squeeze play” designed to force the hand of the Boston baseball organization.

He said that news had leaked out to so many sources it had reached the point where newspapers would publish anyway.

“We plan to meet with Yawkey and Red Sox officials in the near future.” Sullivan revealed. “Some time ago when Red Sox Gen. Mgr. Joe Cronin was told about the Norwood plan he stated that this particular area was the most acceptable”.

$10 Million Sports Center Hinges on Yawkey’s O.K

FOOTBALL IN A CRATER—Artist’s drawing of gridiron in proposed $8% million all-purpose sports center in Norwood.

Would Be Roofed, Heated; Includes Motel, Pool, Golf

Plans call for a horseshoeshaped stadium 80 feet high and more than 600 feet long for baseball and football. The seating capacity would be 60,000. (Milwaukee Stadium has 48,000 and Fenway Park 34,000.)

To cope with the problem of having a stadium suited for both sports, 50,000 grandstand chair-type seats—no benches— will be permanent installations, but 11,000 seats (35 rows) will be movable to permit extension of the baseball foul lines to 320 feet.

In Fenway Park the left field foul line is 315 feet and the right field line 302 feet.

Although 25 percent of Fenway’s 34,000 seats are of the bleacher type, only 12 percent of the total 60.000 in the Norwood stadium would be bleachers.

The stadium’s measurements would be 616 feet by 660 feet.

COULD PLAY BALL IN RAIN OR SNOW

Robert Johnson, architect of the proposed stadium, said that “the way the exits are planned, 60,000 people could be cleared out in 10 minutes.

A retractable roof covering the whole playing field is in the serious planning stage. A baseball game would never have to be called off on account of rain.

Architect Johnson, discussing the roof idea, said “It would be made of aluminum or plastic and would reach an estimated height of 130 to 150 feet at its center.”

“We might build permanent ribs or we might have to suspend it,” Johnson said. “With a roof we could hold a game on Jan. 1 and have a heat blower operating that would take off the chill.

“In contrast to other stadia that are dead when a game ends,” said Johnson, “this one would be set up like a whole building under the stands.”

There would be 102 bowling alleys on two levels at the glassed-in head of the horseshoe. A glassed-in nursery and playroom would be provided for children of the bowlers, plus a lounge and a dressing room.

Above the alleys at the front of the stadium would be two stories of office space.

The left side of the stadium would have three floors of additional space rentable for offices and a small number of stores, although it has not been designed as essentially a shopping center.

On the right side of the stadium, two floors above ground would be devoted to 102 model units with built-in furniture and wall to wall carpeting. The third floor, now planned for offices, may be used for additional motels.

“In further attempting to make full use of the space under the stadium,” said Johnson, “we are planning a gymnasium for the public—with handball courts, conditioning rooms and equipment, an indoor pool and sports clinic.”

The latter was described as “a year-round sports clinic where outstanding figures such as Frank Leahy, Bob Cousy, Ben Hogan and Marciano would teach their specialty.”

There would be a glassed-in TV booth looking into a large vestibule just outside the locker room for post-game interviews as the men go in and out.

A theater seating 1000 has been designed adjacent to the gymnasium for sports meetings and the showing of regular movies.

Outside the stadium would be a smaller stadium-shaped restaurant standing on stilts in front of the main gate. It would have two floors, the upper level reserved for box owners with the same table set aside on game days. Other times the whole restaurant would be open to the public.

“The reason for the stilts,” explained the architect, “is the need for lots of open space around the stadium so people can leave easily and walk under the restaurant, instead of around it,” he smiled. “It’s also a little more exciting.”

A gigantic parking lot would handle 15,000 cars.

“We took the Milwaukee experience,” said one of the planners, “of having one parking space for every 4 1/2 persons — the area holds 11,000 cars — and decided on one space for every four fans.”

An official A.A.U. 50-meter swimming pool, 54 by 185 feet, has been set for the motel side of the stadium. Temporary stands would be erected at the time of competitions. Otherwise it would be for the use of motel guests.

The pool, at its full size, would be kidney-shaped, but since an official pool must be rectangular, a certain section will be blocked off at the time of swimming meets.

The world’s largest golf drivingrange. with 100 tees, would be located near the parking area.

A shelter above the tees would protect them from any kind of weather, and a system of radiant heating underneath the cement square at every tee will “prevent the golfer’s feet from getting cold during Fall and Winter.”

SPORTS PALACE OF THE FUTURE—Drawing shows futuristic look of athletic stadium planned for Norwood. The place will feature 82 deluxe heated and air-conditioned boxes.

NORWOOD SITE CLOSE TO PROVIDENCE FANS

In explaining why Norwood on Route 1 and not far from Route 128 had been chosen as the site, the group’s spokesman said that nowadays,” a place is rated by the amount of time it takes to get there. From the standpoint of traffic, Norwood is ideal. It is nearer the confluence of more major highways than any other spot.

“For the Red Sox, the location is a natural due to their tremendous number of fans south of Boston. Providence has always been a Sox stronghold.”

The stadium would have 7500 dugout level box seats and 96 deluxe roof-boxes, heated and air-conditioned. There would be eight chairs in each one of the deluxe boxes and the interior of the boxes would be decorated like a club room.

They would rent for $5000 a year. The tenants, most probably business firms, would hold the keys for the entire season.

The proposed stadium next to a Google map of Norwood today. The complex would have been located near the present day Norwood Country Club and may have included land on what is university Ave today.

SPUR RAILROAD LINE TO STADIUM POSSIBLE

Sullivan said that idea of the sports center in Norwood had received “a very enthusiastic reception” from officials of that town.

By automobile the stadium site is a six-mile drive from the Route 128 railroad station, but it is actually only a half mile, as the crow flies, to the tracks leading into the station.

It is considered feasible to halve a spur line run directly to the stadium from the main line tracks.

Actual cost of construction would be $8,829,000, not counting the land the nucleus of which is owned by the town of Norwood.

Richard Jones of the Nordblom company which did the preliminary work in acquiring options ay the property said he hoped keep the land costs down to about 5 percent of the total building cost —about $175,000.


Stadium Facts And Figures

SITE—Norwood, off Route 1, near Rt 128. adjoining Norwood Airport.

COST—$10 million.

BACKERS — Hampden-Harvard Brewing Co. and Peter Doelger, Inc., of New York.

SEATING CAPACITY—60,000.

SIZE—Horse-shoe shape, 660 by 616 feet.

ARCHITECT—Robert Johnson.

LEFT SIDE—Three floors of offices and stores.

RIGHT SIDE-Two floors of 102 motel units.

UNDERNEATH — Gymnasium, handball courts, indoor pool, sports clinic.

NEXT TO GYM—A theatre seating 1000.

OUTSIDE STADIUM—A stadium-shaped restaurant standing on stilts, two floors.

PARKING—A gigantic lot holding 15,000 cars.

OTHER FEATURES—An official A.A.U. swimming pool, the world’s largest golf driving range, a retractable roof over the stadium field so that baseball can be played in the rain.

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