The Cubs have moved, and will preserve, an almost invisible element of Wrigley Field history.
Many of us barely notice it when we walk along Waveland Avenue, either before or after a ballgame. It's a humble cottage with a front stoop, resembling hundreds of Chicago bungalows built during the 1920s. Indeed, I grew up in a very similar house. If it had been demolished during renovations, few would have noticed, or cared.
But the Cubs identified the old "caretaker's house" as an important historic element of Wrigley Field, even though it appeared bolted to the ballpark's structure as an afterthought. In many ways, that's just what happened.
The Cubs issued a media advisory that reads:
"It was William Wrigley, Jr.'s idea to build the home and offer it free of rent to Bobby Dorr, Cubs grounds superintendent ... if he would live at the park and watch over the property.
Dorr and his family accepted the offer and moved into the home in 1923 ... Dorr lived there until his death in 1957."
Since then, according to the Cubs, it has served as office and storage space, most recently for the Cubs' concessionaires.
I used to think it was once the Cubs' clubhouse. During the 1960's, when the Cubs clubhouse door was in the left field corner near the foul line, I assumed they went through a tunnel and into that house. After all, it was located adjacent to the players' parking lot.
The house is scheduled to be returned to its original location after the first phase of renovations is completed before Opening Day, 2015, according to the Cubs' advisory.
The Cubs didn't need to do this. As mentioned, I doubt there would have been much of a protest had the building just disappeared one night! So hats off to the Ricketts and the Cubs organization for this very expensive, very sincere demonstration of an appreciation for Cubs history, and the integrity of the ballpark.
Now let's watch them move the house. It's not something one gets to observe every day. A fun off-season morning at the ballpark ...
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