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History of Griffith Stadium and Webster Parish Fair Grounds

by Minden Press-Herald

B.F. Griffith was operating a quarter horse racing track at this location in the early 1900s. In 1906 Griffith organized the Webster Parish Fair Association and the Webster Parish Fair began.

In 1917 the fair association suspended operation and the property was left in the hands of Griffith and its’ stockholders.
In the late 1920s, Minden was considered as a possible site for a junior college, the property was offered as a potential location. The dream of a junior college was lost in the legislative process.

1930s saw the field being used for the American Legion baseball games. The area was also used for recreation by CCC cadets at Camp Meyer, located adjacent to the present stadium.

After WWII, Mr. Griffith was instrumental in having the property transferred to the City of Minden. June 2, 1947, the Board of Aldermen of Minden voted unanimously to name the property Griffith Park.

In 1951, the city donated part of the property to the state for the construction of the Northwest Louisiana Vocational-Technical School.

Dec. 16, 1952, a vote was approved for a 1 mil property tax for 5 years, to construct a municipal stadium and baseball park. The city council voted in 1953 that the Municipal Ball Park as it was being called then shall be open to any and all ball teams playing at that time without charge. All gate receipts would go to the playing teams and concession stand proceeds would go to the Baseball Commission.

By late 1950s, the park was used by Minden High School, American Legion and Redbirds Ball teams. In 1957 a motion was entertained from the Minden Baseball Association to change the name of the stadium to Griffith Stadium, in honor of the contributions of B.F. Griffith Sr., to the sport of baseball in Minden and his work in donating property to the city. Griffith originally came to North Louisiana as a young man when hired as a professional baseball player by the L&NW Railroad Company in Homer, Louisiana. Griffith threw the first pitch at the 1957 Redbirds opening game and a name change ceremony followed. Because of legalities, the name was not officially changed until three years later after Griffith’s death.

In the years since, the park has seen standing room only crowds for semi-pro games, the home field for LHSAA state championship teams for Minden High and home field for Webster High School prior to desegregation of schools.

The site has been the location of rodeos, speeches by national-known political figures such as Gov. George Wallace of Alabama, and many kid’s day activities for the Webster Parish Fair.

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