Before Urban Renewal, Centre Street ran from Park Avenue to Fulton Street.  Fulton St. started from Centre St. to National Boulevard thru to Lindell Blvd.   The area of Fulton St. from Centre St. to National Blvd. is now known as Sycamore Court. The original Fulton St. stretched from Centre St. to National Blvd. had approximately 6 to 8 bungalows on the North side & 2 to 3 larger homes on the South Side.

Firemen's Field was located approximately 25 feet off the LIRR property-line fence running North to South. There was a heavy duty wire cyclone fence backstop with an overhang to stop foul balls from going onto the tracks .  There were openings in the LIRR fence to retrieve foul balls. The field had small sections of Bleacher seats along the first & third base lines & behind home plate. The right field foul line ran from home plate to the Fulton St. sidewalk on the Northside alongside the Bungalows.  The distance from home plate to Fulton St. right field was approximately 210 feet.  Playing baseball, the right fielder had to play in the street at the intersection of Centre & Fulton Streets or further back to prevent the baseball from rolling down Fulton St. to National Blvd., a sure homerun. The left field foul line ran adjacent to the LIRR property line fence to what is now the Bus Depot. 

Today,  this area is one huge parking lot.  The infield was a firm hard clay, had a pitcher's mound with pitching rubber and included a permanent home plate.  The outfield (left & center) had wild grass clumps & soft sandy dirt.  Left field especially.  Right field was firm like the infield to Centre & Fulton St. 

Firemen's Field was used in the 40's by the Black Community, mainly on Sundays.  They were mostly adults & played baseball against teams from other Communities.  The field was available to be used by everyone else Monday thru Saturday.

Born & raised in Long Beach, I played 2 or 3 sandlot baseball games against other local groups.  At other times we used it for batting & fielding practice.  In the 40's there was no Little League.  It was non-existent at the time.  The only organized baseball we had, came later on in the 14-16 age group, playing American Legion baseball. The field was more suited to playing softball, than baseball because of the bondaries and measurements.

Stanley (Doc) Galowin, the school teacher conducted some Boy Scout meetings at Firemen's Field where I attended one of his sessions as a youth.

The field and surrounding area was demolished when Urban Renewal came about and apartments were constructed as we have today.

I'm sorry to say, I don't have any photographs, just memories.  Who Knew? I have no knowledge when the field was originally built but it was there for us when we were growing up.  Its history has to go back to the 30's or possibly late 20's.

Richard Varela

Richard Varela
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