Suffolk Downs is one of four historic sports venues featured in Boston Public Library’s current “Boston Sports Temples” exhibition, which showcases these beloved venues and their unique roles in the daily lives and hearts of generations of New Englanders.
Suffolk Downs is joined by Fenway Park, the original Boston Garden and Braves Field in the exhibition, which is part of Boston Public Library’s “Building Boston” initiative, a citywide celebration of Boston’s public spaces.
Featuring Boston Public Library’s outstanding collection of historic sports photography, the exhibition follows the creation and evolution of these four great public venues; their varied and changing roles, functions, and communities of users; and their powerful connections with millions of devoted fans who have filled their seats night after night, season after season. The exhibition is sponsored by the Boston Public Library Foundation.
“Boston Public Library holds an enormous collection of historic Boston sports photographs and after looking through what we have, Suffolk Downs came to the forefront as a major area of subject matter for our sports collection,” said Beth Prindle, Manager of Exhibitions and Programming at Boston Public Library. “Suffolk Downs and Fenway Park are interesting in this particular exhibition because they are the only two major venues that still stand. If you’re looking at the continuity of tradition, those are the two spaces where people can go and sit in the same places that they might have sat 50 years ago.”
“Suffolk Downs is honored to be included in this exhibition, which really brings to life our rich history and the place that we hold within the Boston sports community,” said Chip Tuttle, Chief Operating Officer of Suffolk Downs. “This is a wonderful exhibit and, as we look toward the future, it reminds us of the need to preserve some of these elements that give the greater Boston area its unique character and sense of place.”
In addition to the many photographs on display, the exhibition includes an original track program from June 29, 1936. Among the horses listed in this program is Seabiscuit, who won the fourth race that day and caught the eye of trainer Tom Smith, who would go on to lead Seabiscuit to national prominence.
The “Boston Sports Temples” exhibition will be on display at the BPL’s Central Library, located at 700 Boylston Street in Copley Square, through May 31. On Tuesday, May 21, Tuttle and Suffolk Downs Vice President of Marketing and Communications Christian Teja will be speaking in the BPL’s Author Talk series. Teja is the author of “Suffolk Downs,” a pictorial history of the 78-year-old racetrack featuring many of the images included in the Sports Temples collection.