Buff Stadium in Hitchcock (1963)

Hurricane Carla tore up old Busch/Buff Stadium pretty badly in September 1963, just prior to the end of the  last Houston Buff season in history. The mortal damage to the venerable old home of so much local baseball history was delayed until April 1963, when the demolition crews took her down for all time.

Hurricane Carla tore up old Busch/Buff Stadium pretty badly in September 1961, just prior to the end of the last Houston Buff season in history. The mortal damage to the venerable old home of so much local baseball lore was delayed until April 1963, when the demolition crews took her down for all time.

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Buff Stadium in Hitchcock

Houston Landmark Moved to Storage at Blimp Base

By Jim Holman, (Galveston Daily) News Mainland Editor

Hitchcock (TX) – Houston’s Busch (ne: Buff) Stadium is moving to Hitchcock, confirming local rumors – but it’s coming in bits and pieces and is likely to stay that way.

A source who declined to be identified said Wednesday there was a chance one small bleacher section would possibly be left intact and set up as a viewing stand at the (horse) race training track on the John Mecom ranch on the old blimp base near here.

The major part of the old stadium, which is currently being torn down, is stored on the blimp slab, some of it hauled (there) as concrete blocks and some (brought) down to (storage as) structural steel.

Box seats are stored inside the recently completed 1000 x 200 foot building marked by the four western columns of  the old blimp base structure.

The stadium seated approximately 12,200, with a peak capacity crowd of 14,000. It was the home stadium of the Houston Buffs, members of the American Association until they gave up their franchise in 1961.

The source said there are no plans for the broken down stadium structure at present, but the steel might possibly be used for other construction.

(The final four paragraphs move off topic to the story of the horses also stabled at the same blimp site.)

~ Jim Holman, Galveston Daily News, April 11, 1963, Page 1.

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Until I found this article this afternoon, I never knew what happened to the materials salvaged from the demolition of Buff Stadium in April 1963. If this published material is accurate, it provides us, at least, with a point B for any further research on anything that may have survived the scrap material pile that the salvage company was temporarily storing at the old blimp hangar site in Galveston County, to the right on the mainland, as one drives down I-45 South on the way to the island. I also must admit to having no idea today if anything remains recognizable there as the former blimp site. We are talking here about something today that happened 52 years ago.

If anything survived, it may been either the small grandstand section or the box seats that Jim Holman referenced in his report. It’s probably more likely that those items too were eventually destroyed for salvaging their metal parts.

All the more reason we need to find away to save he Astrodome before the buzzards of business get her too. We don’t want to disappoint some grieving blogger from the year 2067 (That happens to be 52 years from now) by letting them cannibalize the Dome as they once did down to every last nut, bolt, and metal beam at Buff Stadium. The demolition of the Astrodome could lead some old guy in the future to be writing a story in 2067 about the time as a kid his parents took him to the 50th Anniversary Party of the Astrodome back in 2015.

There wouldn’t be anything left for him to write about, but his fading memories and the same hollow question that spills so easily into a deep lake of profound regret: “I wonder if we might be able to find some parts of the Astrodome still out there, even now, beyond those few hundred seats they once sold? My folks and I waited in line for two hours to see the Dome on the inside in 2015 and it was awesome – like nothing that exists in Houston today! – Why couldn’t the Houstonians of that time do something to give it new life?”

“Why? – Why? – Why?”

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3 Responses to “Buff Stadium in Hitchcock (1963)”

  1. Bob Hulsey Says:

    I know that Colt Stadium was sold and moved to Mexico where it served for many years as the home of a Mexican League team. The only part of Buffs Stadium where I know the whereabouts to is home plate. I believe somebody saved that.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Bob – Yes, The Finger family saved home plate after they bought the Buff Stadium property for their I-45S store at Cullen Blvd. Now that the store is down and the plate has been removed from where it remained in place for years in its original ballpark location as part of the museum they once ran and placed in storage. Hopefully. it will surface again as a public exhibit somewhere.

  2. vdpittman Says:

    I’ve driven past that blimp base many times on Highway 6, not knowing what it was. Turns out it was Hitchcock Naval Air Station, from which they launched blimps to hunt for German subs in WWII.

    The concrete towers that stand there now were once part of frames for the doors of a massive blimp hangar. See http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth18553/ and http://www.texas-flyer.com/chambers/landmark.htm

    Ironically, it appears that Hurricane Carla also did in the blimp hangar as well as Buff Stadium.

    It’s a long shot, but I wonder if there’s anything left of the stadium there after 52 years. I sent an e-mail to Blimp Base Storage (which now occupies the site) to inquire… we’ll see what they say.

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