Photo Courtesy of Ike Martin
Russwood Park was completed all the way back in 1896 but upon its grand opening it was known as Elm Wood Park… a title it would hold until it was renamed Russwood Park in 1915. Elm Wood Park was an oddly shaped creation as it was retrofitted into a six-sided city block. The grandstand was characteristic for having a very long left field line after the grandstand that ran behind the plate. Behind the 1st baseline where all the action happened however, there was not much at all except for some bleacher seats… and no roof to speak of. This was certainly an asymmetrically shaped ballpark, but the quirky grandstand would become so beloved by this city that the fire would break the heart of Memphis. It after all, was not only the home to the city's baseball team… but to the city's first son. Elvis would first play Russwood Park on July 4th 1956 and performed Hound Dog, Blue Suede Shoes and Heartbreak Hotel among many others (more about Elvis' appearance can be found on scottymoore.net. Scotty Moore was Elvis' guitarist and had played with him at Russwood Park). When it first opened as Elm Wood Park in 1896, it sat 6000 fans, but it was expanded several times until it reached its maximum capacity of 11,200. The first team in to call this home in the S.A. was the Memphis Egyptians in 1901… named so because the capital of ancient Egypt in 3000 B.C. was, Memphis. The Egyptians would be called so from 1901 until 1908.