When the park was originally created it was called Veterans Memorial Field. Sometime before
the Korean war the park was renamed Memorial Field. This park included a football stadium,
the baseball field and swimming pool.
Recently the city passed a $16.4 million dollar bond issue for park improvements. In November 2010, the park was officially named Veterans Memorial Park. Each area will has its own identity, Memorial AquaVenture, Memorial Baseball Field and Memorial Football and Soccer Field. The relief sculpture shown is an example of the excellent design and craftsmanship that went into this rebuild of the park.
|On either side of the new grandstands are large picnic areas with colorful shade canopies in place. Access is ADA compliant. A crew had just started to move in the picnic tables to this area when I took the picture. It now has a nice array of picnic tables.|
|The concessions area is large and has very colorful shade canopies. It is shared by the football stadium, baseball field and aquatics park. Whoever did the design did a great job as the city certainly got a lot of bang for its buck.|
|As you can see from the picture, the field has an excellent new bullpen area. You can see the concessions area behind and part of the new aquapark also. The field also has a number of batting cages.|
Norfolk has a rich baseball history. They were part of the Class "D" Nebraska State League in 1914 and 1915.
Known as the Drummers they would draw more than 2,000 fans for weekend games and the YMCA would post away scores on an
inning by inning basis for away games using long distance phone calls. The league disbanded in 1915.
When the league was revived in 1922, Norfolk was league champion. In 1923 WJAG was one of the first radio stations in Nebraska. Located in Norfolk Nebraska it was known as an innovator in live programming under the inspired announcing of Karl Stefan. On May 17th, the radio station did its first live broadcast of a Nebraska State League. The station installed a telephone at the stadium and the broadcast was relayed by telephone to the station where a microphone was held close to the telephone receiver.
|The league folded in 1924 but was revived in 1928. In 1931, an 18 year old named Hugh Luby broke in with the Norfolk Elks. He played for the Philadelphia Athletics and New York Giants in the major leagues and is a member of the Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame. They were league champions in 1932 and 1933. In 1937 they became a farm club of the Yankees and they took the league championship in 1939, 1940 and 1941. With the outbreak of World War II the league disbanded.|
|The main building for the park has the concession stands, locker rooms for the football stadium and serves as the entrance to the aquapark.|
|The park is truly a community effort and the results are exemplary.|
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© 2009 Bruce Esser