This post is about Arrow’s Ball Park, which was home to the Dartmouth Arrows of the old Halifax & District League. The Arrows’ park was nicknamed Little Brooklyn (in honor of Ebbets Field in Brooklyn). Little Brooklyn was located on the current site of the Holiday Inn Harbourview. The Arrows began play there in 1948, after relocating across the harbour from Halifax. The team would last until the league’s final season in 1959. The ballpark was built on the site of the old Chebucto Grounds. The Chebucto Club, whom played many sports, started to play baseball on this site in 1887. Arrows Park was build on the site of the Chebucto Club and hosted its first game on May 24, 1948. This park would be torn down in the fall of 1964, with the hotel opening the following year. This means baseball was played on this site for 78 seasons (1887-1964). During the H&D years, it was said Little Brooklyn was the equivalent to a AA ballpark. The park held between 3000 and 3500 fans. For reference, during the 1954 season the two AA leagues in Organized Baseball were the Texas and Southern Leagues. They had franchises in places like Dallas, Houston and San Antonio (Texas) and Nashville, Atlanta and New Orleans (Southern).
Since the nickname of the field was Little Brooklyn, I will use the Dodgers as an example of how long baseball was played here. In 1887, the Brooklyn Grays (later Dodgers) played their fifth season in the American Association (they would move to the National League in 1890). The first reference to the Brooklyn baseball club as (Trolley) Dodgers came in 1892. Ebbets Field would open in 1913. When Arrows Ball Park was built on the site of Chebucto Grounds in 1948, Jackie Robinson was playing his second season with the Dodgers. The Dodgers left Brooklyn after the 1957 season and two years later Little Brooklyn was vacated after the H&D League folded. In 1960, Ebbets Field was demolished and apartments were built on site. Like itself Major League namesake, Little Brooklyn was torn down a few years later and replaced with not apartments, but a hotel. As you can see there are some similarities between Little Brooklyn and the Major League park it was named after.
As I did in the (original) Wanderer’s Grounds post, I will estimate the location of both home plate and the pitcher’s mound using Google Earth. It was a little more difficult to estimate Little Brooklyn’s plate/mound as I had to eyeball it judging from this picture. For Wanderer’s Grounds I was able to estimate the locations by overlaying images from pre 2004 to present day.
As you can see, home plate was located in the southwest corner of the parking lot. Most of the infield was also located in the parking lot, with the area between second and third being located in the grassy area. The office tower, which contains reception/catering part of the hotel, was located in right-centre field. The hotel itself was built in left field. The front desk area (aka lobby) of the hotel (the square area between the two buildings) was built in centrefield. The hotel parking lot would have been built in deep left field.
The picture above includes a football field. The football field would have run from the corner of the parking lot, through the grassy courtyard area and the Holiday Inn itself. Assuming, the lines on the football field and every five yards, it appears the field is 100 yards long as in American football. Of course, Canadian football fields are 110 yards. The end zones appear to be only ten yards long, again as in the American game. At the time the standard end zone in Canadian football was 25 yards (later shortened to 20 years after the opening of BC Place in Vancouver). Based on the history of football in the region, I am guessing a military team (namely Shearwater) would have utilized Arrows Ball Park as a football stadium in the fall during this time period.
The Holiday Inn Harbourview is scheduled to close for renovations on New Years’ Day (2017). There is talk it will reopen under new branding. Of course, there’s been plenty of upgrading in the area recently with the redecking of the MacDonald Bridge and renovations across the street at Dartmouth Sportsplex.
It is interesting to speculate what would have happened had Little Brooklyn remained. The area could have had a stadium a long time ago. This, of course, could have led to having minor league baseball and/or a CFL franchise years ago.