This Place in History goes to Montpelier Rec Field with Steve Perkins, executive director of the Vermont Historical Society.

“This field was built as part of the Works Progress Administration which put people to work during the Great Depression.” Perkins said. “In 1940, folks who came and worked on state parks and everything, they also built this ballfield. Which, of course, led to the Northern League kind of reconstituting in the 1940’s with semi-professional players right here in Montpelier.”

General Manager of the current NECBL Summer collegiate team, the Vermont Mountaineers, Brian Gallagher is a big of a local baseball historian himself.

“When we first started the team we put a historic site marker up there. Applied for that and were able to get that up there.” said Gallagher. “We’re going into our 76th season on this field. Hall of Famer Robin Roberts played here in ’46 and ’47. He used to come back every year in the early 2000s until he passed away in 2010. He’s just like, this field’s never looked this good. He remembers the days back beyond the fence when it was a cow pasture and you could see cows up there. Of course, now those trees are grown up so much.”

Now Brian and his Mountaineers takeover the field every Summer.

“They’re guys that have either been drafted already out of high school or they’re top prospects that are going to get drafted out of college.” Gallagher said. “And they’re all collegiate players that go back to their school at the start of the season and go play college ball and hope to get drafted again someday. We’ve had 12 players make the Major Leagues in our first 14 seasons and a lot more at Double and Triple-A now working their way up.”

The Mountaineers have had quite a bit of success.

“It’s been a good run.” said Gallgher. “We’ve been in the playoffs almost every year. We’ve won three championships and been runner up twice in that short history. We’ve been playing good baseball here and fans appreciate how close they are to the players and ballpark and the feeling of it we get at the stadium here.”

“Pretty awesome piece of history right here,” Perkins said, “and you can see more of this stuff [like the bat he brought] at the Vermont Historical Society as well in our collections.”

To see all of our This Place in History stories with the Vermont Historical Society, click here.
Click here for a map of all of the Vermont’s roadside historic markers.