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Clarksburg in Montgomery County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

A Real Field of Dreams

 
 
A Real Field of Dreams Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, July 10, 2016
1. A Real Field of Dreams Marker
Inscription. James “Jim” Wims, who acquired this land in 1919 operated a farm with an orchard on this land. In an effort to provide a local place for his children to play ball, Jim took acrage out of crop production and converted it into the recreational area that became known as Wims Meadow.

For a farmer to take land out of cultivation was a real sacrifice. The loss was worthwhile to Jim Wims. His children had opportunities here to explore their future potential. Like other youth in the mid 1900s Montgomery. County, the Wims children did not follow in their father's footsteps as a farmer. Instead his four sons and two daughters all sought and succeeded in professional and trade pursuits.

Jim's son, Wilson, played for the Hyattstown Bluebirds. He later managed and co-owned the Maryland Wildcats, a local traveling semi-professional baseball team that played at Wims Meadow until the late 1950s. Like his father, Wilson worked to provide better recreational opportunities for his surrounding community, including the creation of the Clarksburg Recreation Center.

From the Sandlot… Typically only one baseball game was played on Sunday afternoon at this location, as many guests walked the meadow after Sunday church service. Attendance for local games was impressive. Thousands of folks — mainly from
A Real Field of Dreams Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, July 10, 2016
2. A Real Field of Dreams Marker
Washington, D.C. — traveled on the “Great Road” (Old 240/Route 355) to watch the players take the field. Spectators paid 25 cents for admission to see their local favorites, the Hyattstown Bluebirds, play the other Montgomery County barnstorming teams.

…to the Big Leagues! Patrons attended baseball games fielded by local stars who struggled to become professional Negro League baseball players. From the 1880s until 1946, baseball was segregated, prohibiting black athletes from participating in the Major Leagues. Local sandlot games were regularly attended by county residents. Many residents also traveled to professional Negro League games nearby to watch the Homestead Grays play at Griffith Stadium in Washington D.C. and the Baltimore Black Sox and Elite Giants in Baltimore, Maryland.
 
Location. 39° 16.388′ N, 77° 17.571′ W. Marker is in Clarksburg, Maryland, in Montgomery County. Marker can be reached from Hyattstown Mill Road (The Western Piedmont Trail). Touch for map. In Little Bennett Regional Park about 3/4 of a mile northwest of the Kingsley Schoolhouse parking lot. Marker is in this post office area: Clarksburg MD 20871, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Women on the Homefront in Montgomery County (approx. 0.8
The Clarksburg Athletics image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, July 10, 2016
3. The Clarksburg Athletics
Every town in Montgomery County had a baseball team in the first half of the 1900s. Hyattstown hosted several local opponents, including talented teams from Clarksburg. Part of the roster for the 1950s Charksburg Athletics included Lester Wimms, one Jim's sons, seen here in the front row, third from left.
Close-up of photo on marker
Ethel Forman, Clarksburg Historical Society
miles away); Welcome to Froggy Hollow (approx. one mile away); Our Daily Bread (approx. 1.1 miles away); Hyattstown Mill (approx. 1.1 miles away); Hyattstown (approx. 1.2 miles away); Tavern Life at Dowden's Ordinary (approx. 2.6 miles away); Dowden's Ordinary: A French & Indian War Site (approx. 2.6 miles away); Archaeology at Dowden's Ordinary (approx. 2.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Clarksburg.
 
Categories. African AmericansSports
 
Jim Wims image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, July 10, 2016
4. Jim Wims
Close-up of photo on marker
The Wims Family
Gordon Hopkins image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, July 10, 2016
5. Gordon Hopkins
Local Legend Gordon Hopkins became a famous Negro League player for the Indianapolis Clowns.
Close-up of photo on marker
Negro League Baseball Museum, Inc.
Buck Leonard image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, July 10, 2016
6. Buck Leonard
This 1938 photo shows Buck Leonard (also known as the “Black Babe Ruth”) first baseman for the Homestead Grays taking a swing at Griffith Stadium. Leonard and teammate Josh Gibson usually led the Negro League in home runs. They were both inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.
Close-up of photo on marker
National Baseball Hall of Fame Library
Well Dressed Onlookers image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, July 10, 2016
7. Well Dressed Onlookers
These games were more than athletic competitions, they were social events. Both men and women came well-dressed to the games.
Close-up of Dr. Lawrence Hogan photo on marker
Wims Meadow image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, July 10, 2016
8. Wims Meadow
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 22, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 11, 2016, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 224 times since then and 57 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on July 11, 2016, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.   7, 8. submitted on July 21, 2016, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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