Oval Park



Entrance to Oval Park, Apr-2005.

This softball field is all that remains of the Grove Street Oval.

Quick Facts:
I went to Oval Park to take photos of a site that was used by the Negro National League for some games in 1944. Reportedly, the park has been around for at least 125 years, as a team in a fledgling professional football league was using the “East Orange Oval” in 1887.

Unfortunately, all that remains of the facility is this softball field. The existing field may not even be laid out in the same place as the facility listed as “Grove Street Oval” in several sources. Additional recreation buildings, visible in the second photo, have been erected in the last forty years.

East Orange is a city that, through the first half of the 20th century, was integrated and segregated at the same time. Various ethnic groups lived in specific areas and generally stayed with their own, a pattern repeated in cities throughout the nation. In the 1940s, the section of town that included Oval Park was distinctly black, a factor that I’m sure led the Negro National League to play some games here.


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This page updated 11-Sep-2012