I picked up a copy of James H. Bready’s Baseball in Baltimore (JHUP, 1998) last year and just got around to reading it a few days ago. On page 17 he talks about an early Baltimore ballpark called Newington Park and included this parenthetical comment:
Why “Newington”? No answer today, except that a housing development some blocks away used that name.(Bready, 1998, p. 17)
Turning to newspapers.com, a much better resource than the mountain of reels of microfiche Bready was faced with, I quickly found a reference to “Newington Park . . . situated on Madison Street, near the village of Newington” in May 1841 advertisements for the sale of a country estate:
The Newington Park estate is mentioned only in these nine ads, though there are later apparent references to the property and of the furnishings of Reip’s estate. The village of Newington is mentioned one other time, in an April 1845 ad for a property on Pennsylvania Avenue, an ad that closely resembled the ads for Newington Park.
Reip’s Newington Park estate seems to match what is known as the Madison Avenue Grounds (later Monumental Park) as seen in this detail from E. Sachse, & Co.’s bird’s eye view of the city of Baltimore, 1869, particularly the “stabling for four horses and four cows”:
Bready noted the clearly visible two entrances, one for men and one for women, the grandstands, and the American flag.
The generally accepted location of the Newington Park baseball field is a few blocks west of Reip’s estate, on the west of Pennsylvania Avenue in the vicinity of Baker Street. There was also a Newington Building Association which may have been established to dispose of the property of the Newington Academy which was located in the same area.
Alfred H. Reip (1811-1895) was probably best known for inventing the rotary mechanical egg beater which he patented, along with Ralph Collier, in 1856 and he was the proprietor of The Housekeeper’s Emporium located at 337 Baltimore Street, near Eutaw Street. He was killed by a White Line cable car at the corner of Eutaw and Fayette Streets; Charles Bosley, the gripman, was exonerated by the inquest. Cardinal Gibbon, Archbishop of Baltimore, was present at his funeral which was held at the Baltimore Basilica.
There is some work to be done on the names and locations of Baltimore’s early baseball fields despite all the work already done. I can’t do that work now, but I’m leaving this tidbit here in case I get the chance to take another look at it in the future.