MANCHESTER, NH – A newly-renovated Gill Stadium was officially christened on Friday night following Manchester Central’s boys’ soccer game against Goffstown and before Manchester Central’s football game against Salem.
Mayor Joyce Craig and other dignitaries praised the new turf field, which was installed in July and August, marking the first renovation since the New Hampshire Fisher Cats donated an artificial turf surface while they temporarily used the field in 2004.
Other parts of the $1.5 million renovation include moving the baseball bullpens from beyond the outfield fence to an area along Maple Street and placing stands for visiting fans out of the field of play and into the area where the bullpens once stood near the corner of Maple Street and the stadium’s border with the adjacent JFK Coliseum parking lot.
“It’s just amazing,” said Janet Horvath, recreation and enterprise manager of the Manchester Department of Public Works Parks, Recreation and Cemeteries Division. “This is a really amazing historical facility and it’s great to see it updated and being used for Manchester’s needs today.”
Originally opened as Varick Field in 1894, Gill Stadium was renamed Textile Field in 1913 and Municipal Athletic Field in 1927 before being renamed for former Manchester Parks and Recreation Director Ignace Gill in 1967.
In addition to high school sports, the stadium has hosted teams from Amoskeag Manufacturing’s recreational teams in the past, and the American Legion Baseball World Series in 1932, 1942, 1968, 1976 and 1977 along with many other American Legion events.
The stadium has also been home to the New York Yankees’ Double-A team in 1947 and 1948 and their Single-A team in 1971 and 1972, as well as the NH Fisher Cats.