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Carson Park: The People's Playground

Written By: Danielle Small  |  Posted: Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

It is the 1952 Northern League baseball season and Hank Aaron of the Eau Claire Braves is up to bat in the inaugural game in Carson Park. Who knew that just twenty-two years later this soon to be hall of famer would break Babe's Ruth sacrosanct home run record. Ever since its opening in 1914 Carson Park (named in honor of lumber baron, William Carson) has been a stepping stone to greater achievements. A birth child of the Works Progress Administration project, the sports complex started construction in 1935. The first football game was played in 1936, and the first baseball game was played the year after. Carson Park was not only home to Hank Aaron. It housed other major league players such as, Joe Torre, Tom Poquette, and Andy Papko to name a few. Today, Carson Park is home to the Eau Claire Express, UWEC Blugolds, Eau Claire North, Memorial and Regis High School football and baseball teams, The Chippewa Valley Predators, Eau Claire Crush, Immanuel Lutheran Lancers high school teams, Eau Claire Cavaliers, Eau Claire Bear amateur teams, and the Eau Claire Pizza Hut American Legion team. Much like the Eau Claire Braves of the 1950's, the Eau Claire Express has turned out many major league drafts which proves that success is a continuing feature of those who play in Carson Park.

Carson Park has been through some major renovations over the years, the most notable is the 1995 560K renovation that was set in recognition of Hank Aaron's tie to the baseball heritage of Eau Claire. But, even though Carson Park has changed face throughout the years, its spirit which is rooted in tradition and America's favorite pastime remains intact as Carson Park is one of America's last surviving WPA stadiums, according to the Wisconsin Historical Society.

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