Dan Rodricks: Vanished faces of a West Virginia boom town

American League

When the Orioles played at Union Park

When the Orioles played at Union Park

It took nearly three years and $110 million to build Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Union Park, home of the celebrated 19th-century Orioles, went up in 17 days at a cost of $7,500.

Built in a jiffy in 1891, that stadium served Baltimore’s first championship baseball team, which captured three straight National League pennants from 1894 to 1896. An 8,000-seat wooden edifice, Union Park sat on 25th Street (then Huntingdon Avenue), between Guilford Avenue and Barclay Street.

In less than three weeks, workers turned a hilly pasture, with trees and a stream, into a big-league diamond complete with beer garden, picnic grounds and a ladies’ grandstand. There, for nine years, the...