Lynchburg City Stadium
Construction for City Stadium was completed in 1939. After rejecting a number of offers from the city to buy the fairgrounds in which the stadium now stands, the owners of the land finally agreed to sell in 1936 for a cost of $30,000. The construction of both the baseball and adjacent football field was a part of the New Deal's Work Progress Administration programs. The city of Lynchburg paid $189,000 along with $100,000 in WPA appropriations.
The fairgrounds were a center point for the community, serving as the home for fairs and horse races. This helped draw a remarkable seven thousand fans to the first ever game at City Stadium in 1940: an exhibition game between the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Dodgers. The Yankees center fielder Joe DiMaggio drove in the first two runs in the new stadium. The cross-town rivalry was a one-sided affair in this contest, as the Yankees pounded the Dodgers 11-4.
The first major overhaul to the stadium occurred in 1978. The upgrade included reconstructing the outfield fence, grandstand roof, grandstand screen and adding new lights. In 1981, clubhouses were added to accommodate both the football and baseball stadiums. The biggest change though, was a 6.5-million dollar renovation to the stadium that began in 2002. It included a new concourse with the addition of chair back seats, a new picnic area, two new concession stands, eight luxury boxes, a new press box, spacious bathrooms and a new scoreboard. Groundbreaking for the project was on October 8, 2002. The renovations were completed in time for the 2004 Hillcats season. The following season six more skyboxes and a state of the art video board were added.
The "new" stadium also came with an additional name. The field was named Calvin Falwell Field in honor of the President of Lynchburg Baseball Corporation. Falwell, who is commonly known as "The King of Baseball," is the biggest reason why professional baseball has survived and thrived in Lynchburg. With the help of a small group of leading citizens in the community, Falwell formed the LBC in 1966 and they were able to keep professional baseball in the Hill City.
The Hillcats drew a new all-time attendance record during the first year of the renovated stadium, as more than 148,000 fans filed through the gates. Every season since then over 150,000 fans have experienced all that City Stadium has to offer. In 2010, the attendance soared to over 167,000 fans!
Lynchburg City Stadium has been home to baseball for nearly 70 years. Over that time the Lynchburg faithful have seen the Hill Climbers, Shoemakers, Grays, Senators, Cardinals, White Sox, Twins, Rangers, Mets, Red Sox and Hillcats take to the diamond.