MADRID, N.M. (KRQE) – A legendary New Mexico ballpark got new life on Memorial Day.
Fans packed Oscar Huber Memorial Ballpark in Madrid to see the rebuilt grandstands’ dedication.
Those grandstands were first built in the 1920’s when Madrid was still an active mining town. The idea was to keep the miners who worked there occupied in their free time, instead of drinking.
It was the first lighted ballpark west of the Mississippi and once hosted a minor league team, the Madrid Miners.
“It has a lot of historic significance, not just for New Mexico or just for Madrid,” said Tracy Ragan with the Madrid Landowners Association. “But for the United States in general.”
“We have old photographs showing all the Model T Fords lined up,” said Beverly Spears, the architect helping with the restoration. “It drew great crowds. They had some exciting baseball out here.”
Those old grandstands had deteriorated in the decades since they were built and in recent years there’s been a community push to rebuild them. Four years ago, with state and county help, a new shell for the grandstands was built. Monday, the job’s been finished and those grandstands are complete.
As part of the renovations, a new fence was built, closing off the “infinite outfield” that had been there before.
To celebrate, there was a ribbon cutting and a game between the Madrid Miners and the East Mountain Riff Raff.
The ballpark is named after Oscar Huber, the coal company executive who had the grandstands built and whose family once owned the town.