"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN
Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.
COMISKEY PARK. The DUBUQUE DRIVING PARK was the scene of organized baseball in the 1860s. Located at the corner of E. 32nd Street (Peru Road) and Central Avenue, the ball field was located where the local UAW Union Hall and Prairie Farms Dairy were located in 2021.
Desiring to move BASEBALL closer to the center of town, the baseball park was relocated from LEAGUE PARK to 24th Street and Jackson. (1) From 1895 until 1927, the field served as the home field for the city’s team, affiliated with the Eastern Iowa League (1895), as an independent (1895-99), the Western Association (1899-1901), and the Triple-Eye League (1901-14). In centerfield stood a large bull, an advertisement for a tobacco company. In 1913 from that spot Larry LeJeune threw a baseballball over the grandstands behind homeplate and into the front yard of a house across the street, a total of 431 feet. (1)
Olinger Park was purchased by the City of Dubuque in December, 1928 after $27,000 in bonds for the purchase were authorized by the city council in November of the same year. (2) On May 14, 1929 the Dubuque City Council finalized the name of Dubuque's first "professional baseball park" in Dubuque. (3) Comiskey Field was named in honor of Charles Albert COMISKEY, the famed baseball player and club owner. The name chosen from more than sixty suggested was submitted by Albert V. Schiltz who won a season pass and a gift from Fred LEISER, owner of the Dubuque baseball club. (4) On June 20, 1929, the field was dedicated as the first municipally-owned recreation center. (5)
By 1937, the year the bonds were all-paid off, the city had constructed up-to-date playground equipment and the property included TENNIS COURTS, a shelter house, and ice rink. (6)
In 2008 Comiskey Park was still located on 26th and Jackson STREETS. Now a family play area, the grounds had no resemblance to the ball field with its high wooden fences and covered bleachers.
In July, 2017 it was announced $508,000 had been awarded for developments to the park through the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership program. The city was planning to construct a splash park and all inclusive play structure. The grant was part of $13.3 million to help 22 cities in 17 states with projects to plan, build, and enhance parks and other outdoor recreation facilities in under-served communities. (7)
City officials announced in November, 2018 that they were looking for a firm to direct the design, construction management and grant administration for a planned two-acre expansion of the park in 2019. The opportunity to make the expansion came as a result of the BEE BRANCH construction with property that the city purchased for the flood mitigation effort. One possibility suggested was to simply spread out some of the recreation facilities already present. (8)
In March, 2020 the announcement was made that among the design plans for Comiskey Park were a splash pool, new basketball courts and picnic shelters. City officials budgeted about $1.2 million in grant and local funding for the proposed changes after purchasing an adjacent 2-acre site. This would expand the current 3.6-acre park. (9)
1. Pregler, John, "From the Archives: Dubuque's League Park," The Lens of History, November 8, 2020. Online: https://thelensofhistory.com/2020/11/from-the-archives-dubuques-league-park/
2. "Way Back When," Telegraph-Herald, October 3, 1971, p. 21
3. "Comiskey Field Now All City's," Telegraph-Herald, December 1, 1937, p. 1
4. "Comiskey Field' Name Selected for Playground," Telegraph Herald and Times Journal, May 14, 1929, p. 1
6. "Ceremonies Will Start at 1:30 O'Clock Thursday," Telegraph-Herald and Times-Journal, June 19, 1929, p. 1
7. "Comiskey Field Now All City's,"...
8. Descorbeth, Shirley, "Developments Coming to Comiskey Park," KWWL.com. http://www.kwwl.com/story/35926059/2017/7/19/developments-coming-to-comiskey-park
9. Fisher, Benjamin, "City Moves Ahead on Comiskey Expansion," Telegraph Herald, November 11, 2018, p. 19A
10. Barton, Thomas J., "City Reviews Design Plans for Comiskey Park," Telegraph Herald, March 10, 2020, p. 1A