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Lafayette bids farewell to historic Loeb Stadium

Demolition begins Monday.

Posted: Aug 7, 2019 6:18 AM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Loeb Stadium has seen a lot of baseball in its nearly eight decades of existence. From the Colt World Series, to Lafayette Jeff home games and even minor league baseball, many Lafayette residents have memories at the stadium on the corner of Main and Wallace streets.

Seventy nine years of history ended Tuesday night with a Prospect League matchup between the Lafayette Aviators and Champion City Kings in front of 1,900 fans. 

The stadium was built in 1940 and was originally named the Columbian Park Recreation Center. It took on the name of Loeb Stadium in 1971 after Bert and June Loeb. The couple donated $50,000 to renovate the 3,500 seat stadium in honor of Solomon Loeb.

While this stadium's current era is coming to an end, the memories will live on forever.

"Loeb Stadium is Loeb Stadium," said Josh Loggins. "It will be hard to replace that."

Loggins is one of dozens of baseball players who played at Loeb Stadium and found success with the game professionally.

"There's a lot of guys that are from Lafayette that have some baseball roots," said Loggins. "Loeb Stadium was kind of that nucleus. We all spent time there, played there, failed there, succeeded there. So it's always been a really cool thing."

While those players will always have their memories of the iconic Lafayette stadium, it will soon look much different than it ever has before.

"As you are coming into Lafayette and headed downtown on Main Street, you'll see this really beautiful baseball stadium," said Jon Miner with Lafayette Parks and Recreation. "Then when you come into Loeb Stadium for a game, you're going to sit in the stands and look over Columbian Park."

"It's been home to a lot of great baseball, and a lot of great baseball players have gone through here and played."

Once it's renovated, the parks department believes it will become even more iconic then it already is.

"It's really going to add not just from a baseball perspective to the community, but it's going to add other programming and other opportunities as well," said Miner.

The $17 million project is being designed by American Structurepoint, the same group that designed Kokomo's Municipal stadium. The field of the stadium will be made of synthetic turf, and will include a large concourse and home and visitor locker rooms. In addition to baseball, Mayor Tony Roswarski says the new stadium can host soccer, football, car shows and even concerts.

Perhaps the main difference in the two will be the layout. Home plate of the new stadium will be moved to the center field area of the current stadium. The main entrance will be moved to the corner of Main and Wallace streets.

The start of demolition begins Monday. Construction is expected to be finished by the end of 2020. The Aviators announced the team will play their 2020 home games at Purdue's Alexander Field.

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