This Buffalo Landmark is Celebrating Its 86th Birthday
Many flock to Buffalo and Western New York to marvel at the architectural gems sprinkled all over the 716.
The beautifully historic homes, dynamic buildings, and world-class parks are just a few of several reasons that make Buffalo the best New York City.
Unfortunately, for a while, the powers that be in Buffalo have been finding ways to destroy some of the historic things that made Buffalo unique, from building a 6-lane subgrade highway through an Olmstead park (twice) to not preserving the original Electric Tower.
But the good thing is that there is one key part of Buffalo's history that has survived and is now celebrating its 86th birthday. Given all of the development that has happened over the years, the area is indeed a better place because we found a way to keep this key infrastructure functioning.
Happy Birthday To The Rockpile
Construction to build the east Buffalo football, baseball, and soccer stadium began in the mid-1930s thanks to $3 million in Federal WPA funds that were made available in Buffalo. On October 16, 1937, the original 36,500-seat Roesch Memorial Stadium opened for the people of Western New York.
The stadium, which has been known by many names over the years:
- 1937 - Roesch Memorial Stadium
- 1937 - Grover Cleveland Stadium
- 1938 - Civic Stadium
- 1960 - War Memorial Stadium
- 1989 - Johnnie B. Wiley Amateur Athletic Sports Pavilion
It is best known by most of us as the Rockpile.
The Rockpile, which has served Buffalo for many sports and many years, even today as a neighborhood resource for students and community groups, was the home of the Buffalo Bisons and Buffalo Bills for many years. The Bills won their 1st AFL Championship on the field in front of 40,000 screaming fans on a cold December day in 1964.
The venue has hosted many other events, from high school and college baseball and football to professional baseball and football, along with NASCAR and even movies. The Rockpile is probably most famously known worldwide for serving as the backdrop for the 1984 movie The Natural, starring Robert Redford, Glenn Close, and Robert Duvall.
While the War Memorial Stadium was demolished in 1989, the Rockpile still exists today as the Johnnie B. Wiley Amateur Athletic Sports Pavilion, which is named after Johnnie B. Wiley, a longtime advocate for youth who lived on Buffalo's east side.
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