O’Donnell: From Batters to Battallions: A Brooklyn armory sits on baseball history

From Tim O’Donnell at Bedford and Bowery on December 28, 2018, with mention of SABR member Tom Gilbert:

The 47th Regiment Armory on Marcy Avenue has loomed over its neighbors since 1883. The brick-layered building with crenelated turrets occupies an entire block, bounded by Marcy Avenue to the South, Harrison to the north, Heyward Street to the west and Lynch to the east. Up until 2011, when the federal government consolidated several regiments, the armory served as the drill hall for a branch of the New York National Guard.

 Although the State of New York still owns the building, it has occasionally hosted community events but mainly serves as a film set for Hollywood blockbusters like The Amazing Spider Man 2 and Noah. Some days, the armory’s garage doors are open and crew members can be seen wheeling equipment into the spacious former drill hall. Concealed beneath the foundation of the imposing structure, however, are the remnants of the site’s mostly forgotten but more intriguing past.

Long before soldiers filled the armory’s halls, the forebears of Jackie Robinson, Duke Snyder, Pee Wee Reese, and other Brooklyn baseball heroes graced this tract of land. Nothing commemorates this particular history, but for nearly two decades, from 1862 until the armory’s construction in 1883, Lot 2233 was the Union Grounds, a popular skating pond and baseball field that hosted the Grand Old Game before the Brooklyn Dodgers or their home stadium on Ebbets Field even existed.

Read the full article here: http://bedfordandbowery.com/2018/12/from-batters-to-battallions-a-brooklyn-armory-sits-on-baseball-history/

Originally published: January 3, 2019. Last Updated: January 3, 2019.