A: As one of the last new stadiums built before the wave of construction that produced the likes of Forbes Field, Tiger Stadium, Wrigley Field, and Fenway Park, the Palace of the Fans was both enormously ambitious and tragically mis-timed.
The Palace was an experiment meant to push the limits of the public’s conception of ballpark design. It was baseball’s first and only neoclassical stadium, and one of its first concrete-and-iron parks. The design featured an innovative luxury box concept that included carriage parking within the grandstand for wealthy patrons.
However, the Palace of the Fans was doomed by its own ambition. Its ornate but undersized Greco-Roman grandstand couldn’t fulfill demand, and crowds often overflowed the paltry 6,000 seating capacity onto the field itself. The seating plan left no room for clubhouses or dugouts; players had to be seated on benches on the field beneath the overhang of the second deck. The design proved difficult and expensive to maintain, and within a decade cracks began forming in the structure. When fires destroyed the wooden bleachers in the outfield, the Reds decided to simply tear down the Palace and start anew, building Crosley Field on the same footprint just ten years after the Palace had opened.
J: Probably the most obscure stadium featured here, Palace of the Fans is also perhaps the one best suited for this project. Built in 1902 with Corinthian columns and early predecessors to luxury boxes, Palace was meant to attract fans with its architectural ambition. However, it became unusable after less than a decade due to structural cracks and decay. The music begins in a similarly neoclassical style and form, but by the end of the movement the music crumbles over its own pompousness. Several elements are derived from the opening movement’s main motive, including the primary melody.