Encyclopedia Brunoniana

Lincoln Field

Lincoln Field was laid out in the spring of 1880 under the supervision of Professor Samuel S. Greene, who had two sons on the college baseball team. After the building of Sayles Hall, it was necessary to do something about the land in back of it, which Anthony McCabe described in Memories of Brown:

“Lincoln Field ... was nothing more than a swamp, partly covered by water, inhabited by a numerous colony of musical bull-frogs. This swamp, which was about ten feet below the grade of Thayer street, was bordered with a tropical growth of shrubbery and tall grass. In the spring of 1880 Professor Greene undertook to improve matters. With a force of men and teams he removed the unnecessary trees and filled up the swamp. His enthusiasm for this work was contagious, and the college community began to feel that a ball-field near the college was a necessity. To this work he devoted much of his time and money, and frequently after dismissing his class he would be seen with his coat laid aside, joining in the work side by side with the laborers.”
The field was named for Professor John Larkin Lincoln, who himself suggested that it be called “The College Greene.” The first baseball diamond was laid out on a north-south axis pointing toward St. Stephen’s Church. In the opening game, a ball went through a window of the church, and in the next season home plate was moved into the northeast corner on Thayer Street with the axis changed to northeast to southwest, and with the steep bank in back of Sayles Hall cut back. In 1894 a cinder track was built around the field, along with a short path of the same material for jumping and vaulting. Lincoln Field was the site of athletic contests until Andrews Field on Camp Street took its place in 1899. It continued to be the scene of informal sports. In 1985 the University hoped to receive funding from the Olin Foundation to erect a three-story building, which was required by the foundation to be visible from the main campus. The suggestion of Lincoln Field as the site of the building was met with great opposition by the alumni and others who valued the open space and beauty of the lower campus, and the view of the statue of Marcus Aurelius through the Soldiers Memorial Gate.