Frank Wade Municipal StadiumDuluth's Home for Baseball Since 1941
By: Rob Hedburg | August 6, 2018
Located between Duluth's Denfeld and Lincoln Park neighborhoods and overlooking the St. Louis Bay stands Frank Wade Municipal Stadium. First known as the Duluth Municipal All-Sports Stadium, "The Wade" has been an integral part of Duluth's relationship with baseball since the 1940s. The stadium’s construction began on April 20, 1940 and was completed prior to July 16, 1941 at a total cost of $230,880. The project was partly funded $7,500 from the state of Minnesota and $80,000 from the Works Progress Administration. The bricks used to construct the stadium were reclaimed from Grand Avenue’s reconstruction.
The stadium is named after Frank Wade, the owner of the Duluth Dukes, the first professional baseball team that occupied the stadium. The original Duluth Dukes, members of the Northern League, played their first two seasons at the Wade Stadium in 1941 and 1942. After the ’42 season, the Northern League shut down due to the United States’ involvement in World War II. League play would resume in 1946. Frank Wade owned the team from its inception until selling it in 1952. He would pass away from a heart attack in January 1953. On February 3, 1954, the stadium was officially renamed Wade Municipal Stadium after a yearlong campaign to honor Frank Wade. The Duluth Dukes would continue to play in Wade Stadium until the Northern League folded in 1971.
Following the folding of the Northern League, collegiate baseball filled the void. Wade Stadium would play host to the University of Minnesota Duluth baseball team from 1971 to 1988. Additionally, Wade Stadium was used as a concert venue, hosting the likes of Willie Nelson, Three Dog Night, and The Beach Boys.
1993 saw the return of professional baseball to Duluth. A new, independent Northern League formed, and a new Duluth-Superior Dukes team occupied Wade Stadium. The Duluth-Superior Dukes would play for ten seasons, winning the league championship in 1997. Unfortunately, poor attendance plagued the new Dukes team throughout its decade in Duluth. In late 2002, the franchise moved to Kansas City, Kansas and rebranded as the Kansas City T-Bones.
The wait for a new baseball club in Duluth would not be as long following the Duluth-Superior Dukes departure. In 2003, the Duluth Huskies of the Northwoods League began play in Wade Stadium. WORDS The stadium has received major renovations within the last 5 years, including the installation of an astro-turf artificial playing surface, new lightning, a much-improved drainage system, and a brand-new scoreboard.
In addition to the Huskies, Wade Stadium also hosts the College of St. Scholastica and Denfeld High School baseball teams.
The Duluth Huskies regular season runs every year from late May to early August. Be sure to catch a game on your next visit! For more information on the history of Wade Stadium, check out this article by Zenith City Online and this page on the Duluth Huskies website. Wade Stadium is owned by the city of Duluth as is available for rent. If you are interested in hosting an event at Wade Stadium, visit this page from the Parks and Recreation Department.