The Early Brooklyn Dodgers
1883-1891: First Home of the Brooklyn Dodgers
The Old Stone House was the original clubhouse of the team that became the Brooklyn Dodgers when they played at Washington Baseball Park — located between Fourth and Fifth Avenues and Third and Fifth Streets – what is now Washington Park/JJ Byrne Playground and William Alexander Middle School.
The ball park was built on swampy ground located near the shore of a mill pond and the Gowanus Creek. When the streets and avenues were built around it in the 1850s, they were elevated on embankments above the low ground.
The first home game of the “Brooklyn Baseball Club” and the Grand Opening of Washington Park was Saturday, May 12, 1883 — they beat Trenton 13‑6. During 1883 they played in the minor leagues and won the Inter‑State championship. In 1884, they joined the major leagues as an expansion team in the old “American Association.”
The original owner (and, for a couple of years, the manager) of the Brooklyn team was Charles H. Byrne. During their first season, he hired Charles H. Ebbets to work as a ticket taker at Washington Park. Ebbets gradually worked his way up in the organization, and took control of the team on Jan. 1, 1898, just a few hours before New York City annexed Brooklyn, and just 3 days before Byrne died.
In 1891, they moved to Eastern Park. In 1898, Charles Ebbets brought them back to a new Washington Park, located across Fourth Avenue from the old field (between Fourth and Third Avenues, First and Third Streets). They played there through 1912, then moved to Ebbets Field in 1913. The second Washington Park was demolished in 1926, except for a wall which still stands on Third Avenue near First Street.