Our first baseball stadium was built in Elysian Grove. (Andy Morales / AllSportsTucson)

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Look for us in the past and you will find it, our future will last if you take the time to look back

My Facebook and Twitter groups, “Tucson Historic Sports Venues and Artifacts” is one of the most rewarding endeavors I have been involved with. I got the idea to search for hidden or forgotten sports artifacts in Old Pueblo after watching “Searching for Secrets” on the Smithsonian Channel last summer. This series visited major international cities like San Francisco and it showed unknown and obscure artifacts like why a fire hydrant in the city by the bay is painted gold and where to find it and I wondered what could I possibly do? find for Tucson but from a sport angle.

I started with Elysian Grove, located just west of the current Carrillo K-5 Magnet school. Emanuel Drachman built the field and corresponding clubhouse in 1907 and Tucson High trained and performed there as the University of Arizona did at the start of James Fred “Pop” McKale. The site was demolished in 1930 putting an end to a very important part of Tucson’s past. Chicago World Series champion White Sox played there. All that’s left is the front of a grocery store.

1908 advertisement

Then I found out that Tucson had two sporting goods stores from 1890 to 1920, and around 1908, the Reid Sporting Goods Co. (located at 44 N. Stone) was the first to carry football equipment like shoulder pads. This store was swallowed up by Montgomery Ward. Now called the “Roy Place Building”, it is used by the University of Arizona and the Tucson startup.

I have included information on the whereabouts of Button Salmon’s grave and the hospital where he died, the Southern Methodist Hospital, which is currently the Castle Apartments at 721 E. Adams.

(Andy Morales / AllSportsTucson)

Herring Hall served as a gymnasium in Arizona long before Bear Down Gym and McKale Center. It housed Pop McKale’s first office and it was the only gym in Tucson with running water for showers. It was the Men’s Gymnasium (1903 – 1925) and housed the Women’s Physical Education Program (1925 – 1937) before the construction of Bear Down in 1926.

There are a few other sites and artifacts listed on my page including where to find an Olympics flagpole and where locals watched the Mad Mongol, Chief White Eagle, Brenda Scott, Ann Casey, Judy Grable, Olga Martinez, Tucson Terror, The Masked Cowboy, Chief Little Wolf and Chocolate Ice Cube “fight”.

Oh, and Tucson had a baseball field downtown, but it was demolished to make way for I-10 in 1950.

So take a look and send me some ideas. Remember, only the forgotten and obscure sports venues and artifacts. While it’s interesting that John Denver lived in Randolph Park or that there is a cat and a mouse on the San Xavier Mission, these facts are not part of my plan.

The first gymnasium used by the Wildcats. (Andy Morales / AllSportsTucson)

More of “Old Pueblo Abuelo” can be found here.


Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the Best High School Journalist in 2014, he received the Ray McNally Award in 2017, a winner of the AZ Education News Award 2019 and he has been a youth, high school and college coach. for over 30 years. He was the first in Arizona to write about beach volleyball and high school wrestling. His own children have won several state high school championships and have been named to all-state teams. Participating in high school hockey, basketball, baseball and track and field, his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is the Southern Arizona voting member for the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing Arizona’s best soccer player, and he was named a Local Hero by Tucson Weekly for 2016. Andy was named Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019, became a member of the Sunnyside Los Mezquites Cross Country Hall of Fame in 2021 and was a member of the Amphi COVID-19 Blue Ribbon committee and he won an Amphitheater Distinguished Service award. Contact Andy Morales at [email protected]