Clemente Park

by Richard P. Howe Jr.

Clemente-1(1)Clemente Park is an important part of Lowell’s Cambodia Town neighborhood and the scene of intense volleyball games and many other fun activities.  More than 100 years ago this park was the site of one of the most modern baseball stadiums in America.  Built in 1906 and named Washington Park, the baseball stadium had 3500 seats and was home to the Lowell Tigers of the professional New England Baseball League.

Although the Tigers were very popular when the park first opened, people soon lost interest in the baseball team and attendance dropped.  This caused the owner to sell the team.  The new owner moved the team to a new location.  Without a baseball team, the stadium at Washington Park was neglected and was eventually torn down.  After a few years the city of Lowell took over space as a city park and built several small fields for local softball and baseball teams.

Clemente-2(1)The park kept the name Washington Park until 1973 when the Lowell City Council voted to rename the park Roberto Clemente Park in honor of the all star outfielder of the Pittsburgh Pirates who died at the peak of his baseball career while flying emergency supplies to his homeland of Nicaragua after a devastating earthquake struck that country that year.  At the same time, the city installed powerful “arclights” that allowed adult softball teams and Little League baseball teams to play there late into the night all summer long.

Volleyball courts and playground equipment have replaced the softball fields of the 1970s, but Clemente Park remains an important gathering place for residents of the neighborhood.



This article appears in the March 7th, 2014 Edition of KhmerPostUSA

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