April 17, 1902: The Reds open their new grandstand, known as the Palace of the Fans, with a 6-1 loss to the Cubs on Opening Day. While this main grandstand was new, the remainder of the seats were old wooden stands and bleachers which dated as far back as 1884. Officially, the park was still known by the old name of League Park. It is called Palace of the Fans by present-day baseball historians, but the name was rarely used during the ten years of the park’s existence, and referred only to the new grandstand.

The Palace of the Fans was a marvel of its day. It’s pillars and columns were apprently inspired by architecture exhibited at the Chicago World’s Fair of 1892, which reintroduced America to classic styles. In addition, owner John T. Brush, who owned a department store in Indianapolis, borrowed from the store designs of the period. Department stores were adding lavish architectural embellishments, and at the Palace each column was carved by hand. A peaked cornice directly behind the grandstand spelled out “CINCINNATI”. The elite of the seat sat in 19 fashion boxes which ringed the grandstand like opera boxes. But Brush knew many of his patrons enjoyed the “bargains” found at the ballpark, and he installed “cheap” seats at the field level. These were nicknamed “rooter’s row”, the same name they had gone by in the 1894 grandstand. Only a three foot wooden fence and a four foot chicken wire screen separated fans from the field. Ticket holders, fueled by beer and whiskey, which sold for about 8 cents a glass, showered constant abuse on players and umpires. The temporary grandstand built after the 1900 fire, remained in use in what was now the right field corner, as home plate was moved back to its previous location.

All “Reds trivia” posts come from Greg Rhodes and John Snyder’s fabulous book, “Redleg Journal” (see link for purchasing) and are used with Greg’s permission.

Thanks again to Greg Rhodes for permission to use his material.