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What is the history of E.P. Godwin Stadium?

Chuck Carree
StarNews

E.P. Godwin Stadium has an interesting history, although it is not clear why it was built. The best recollection is the Wilmington Pirates’ minor-league baseball team played there during parts of 1946-1950 when it was called Memorial Stadium. After the Pirates folded, the facility remained as home to various baseball teams, such as Wilmington Post 10 American Legion in the 1950s, Cape Fear Academy and the Hoggard Junior varsity in the 1970s.

Eventually Memorial Stadium, with thick cement and steep steps, was changed to Allsbrook Field for City of Wilmington mayor Allsbrook.

In the late 1960s and early ’70, Eddie (E.P) Godwin III and two others purchased Allsbrook Field and sold it to the City of Wilmington with the promise it be kept as a baseball park. Edward Godwin Jr, the father, had coached and operated youth baseball programs in the area in the 1950s. Godwin Oil Company owned a team in a league. Godwin III then leased the field from the city.

To fund the youth Babe Ruth program and upgrades to Allsbrook Field, Godwin III staged wrestling matches, with such notables as Ric Flair, at Legion Stadium and sponsored the Harlem Globetrotters and Meadowlark Lemon at Brogden Hall.

Godwin III used the monies for major renovations, such as parking and to install mercury vapor lights and re-landscaped the playing surface and restrooms that met state specifications.

When the Pirates played there, the field dimensions were 420 to straightaway center field and 350 feet down each line. For youth baseball, Godwin, moved the fences in so the 13-15-year-old players could belt home runs.

Eventually Allsbrook Field was renamed Babe Ruth Park and Godwin III was president of the youth league.

Because of restoring youth programs and refurbishing the old park, the City of Wilmington renamed it E.P. Godwin Stadium in honor of Edward Godwin Jr., although the exact date is not clear.

In 1998, the Godwin family sold the oil company to Dilmar Oil in Castle Hayne, where Bill Godwin, a former Wilmington Post 10 player and Eddie’s brother, manages the company.

Youth baseball teams continue to play at E.P. Godwin Stadium and one other team, the semipro Wilmington Indians, played there for a while.


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User-contributed question by:
Carey Sasser

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5 Responses to “ What is the history of E.P. Godwin Stadium?”

  1. On December 23, 2011 at 1:40 pm charles godwin wrote:

    It was not E.P Godwin III it was his father E.P. Godwin jr

  2. On January 5, 2012 at 1:41 pm Carolyn Midgette wrote:

    I was just trying to find info on a baseball team Wilmington had I know in the 40′s. My daddy played with ,what I thought were The Wilmington Pirates. Hampstead also had a team. These were not school teams or minor or major league. They were just teams in the area like Seagate had a team back in the 60′s.I knew a few of the players on that team and my boys idolized some of them. My daddy was a catcher, sort of a comedian, he was a good catcher but could not hit the ball far enough for him to get to 1st base. He was in his 30′s then, but I sure was proud of him.

  3. On January 5, 2012 at 3:32 pm Jim Ware wrote:

    Carolyn,

    You might this answer interesting, too: Who was on the roster of the 1950 Wilmington Pirates?.

    Jim

  4. On July 6, 2012 at 2:16 pm Ken wrote:

    As a young person growing up in the 50′s and 60′s, playing baseball was something that most of the kids in neighborhoods like Nesbit Courts, Riverside Apts, and Sunset Park, did about everyday, especially in the Spring and Summer, and one of the places we played was at what we called ‘Pony-Grad’ stadium. I don’t remember it as being called anything else. We played there and at Legion stadium, when there were horses and stables there, and we played down at Optimist park across from Greenfield lake. On another note, Pony-Grad had great accoustics and I remember several of us would get together and practice and sing there, Tommy Carter, Robert Bordeau, Wayne Housand, just to name a few of the folks that come to my mind from back then.

    Thanks to you folks for running this ‘ My Reporter’ series, it has brought back a lot of memories of growing up in the Wilmington area during the 50′s and 60′s.

    Ken

  5. On July 9, 2012 at 4:52 pm Si Cantwell wrote:

    The comments air as much local history as the answers to the posts. Thanks to all of you who respond.

    Si Cantwell
    Community Editor



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