This exhibit was created in partnership with the Connie Mack, III family. It features original artifacts and photographs on loan from the Mack family, connecting Thomas Edison, Connie Mack and baseball in Fort Myers. The exhibit also traces the long history of Fort Myers as a Spring Training site, resulting in World Series pennants for every team that trained here longer than two years.
History of Terry Park and the Connection to Thomas Edison:
In 1921, Dr. Marshall Terry, along with his wife Tootie McGregor-Terry, donated several acres of land that had in its earliest days been a cow pasture and later the site of the Lee County fair. Lee County government took formal possession of the land, which was a mile east of the City of Fort Myers with the stipulation that “all property shall be used as a park and public property.”
Using the specifications put forth by Cornelius McGillicuddy, aka “Connie Mack,” manager and owner of the Philadelphia Athletics, construction of the original ball field began in 1923 and was officially named Terry Park. After two years of negotiations between Mack and a committee led by Richard Richards Sr., owner of the Fort Myers Royal Palm Pharmacy, the Athletics agreed to play their spring training games in Fort Myers starting in 1925.
Terry Park served as the official spring training home of the Athletics until 1936. The team won the World Series in both 1929 and 1930. Over the next five decades, other major league baseball teams used the ballpark to play their pre-season exhibition games, including the Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals and Pittsburgh Pirates. Hall of Famers such as George Brett, Roberto Clemente, Ty Cob, Jimmy Foxx, and Babe Ruth are just some of stars that graced the fields at Terry Park, helping bring national exposure to the “City of Palms.”
Thomas Edison, world-famous inventor and businessman, was also a die-hard baseball fan. In a 1927 interview, Edison was quoted as saying “Baseball is the greatest of American games. I don’t believe you can find a more ardent follower of baseball than myself, as a day seldom passes when I do not read sporting pages of the newspaper.” Edison decided to visit Terry Park on a few occasions to watch the Athletics play, even seizing one opportunity to participate in the team’s batting practice session.
The exhibit is included with daytime admission.