Hansen Stadium at Taylor Field over the years...
1944 – The parcel of land between the Corvallis High School football field and Franklin Elementary School – an area south of Buchanan Avenue between 16th Street and 19th Street – is sold to the Corvallis school district by Herbert and Clara Taylor for the nominal price of $10. To put that sum in context, during those World War II years of oft-scarce consumer goods, a woman’s suit or woman’s coat was on sale for $10.95 to $18.95 at the Williams Store on Third Street, and a “police car alarm” to deter theft could be purchased for $4.95 – installed – at the M.W. Woodcock and Sons garage located at 2nd Street and Van Buren Avenue.
1948 – The lot obtained from the Taylors is identified as a location to be developed as an athletic field for use by the high school and community. As the spring and summer progress, work is done to install an irrigation system. Community groups raise enough money to install lights so that local boys softball teams can play evening games. Grass is planted, and a plan is formulated for arranging fields for various sports on the site.
1949 –Even before baseball season begins, the ballpark site is being referred to as “the Taylor field” in the Corvallis Gazette-Times. During spring break, a backstop is installed for baseball; wet weather prevents the infield from being skinned until later in the spring. Corvallis High School plays its first two home games on its old field next to the high school building. On April 15, CHS plays the first-ever game at Hansen Stadium at Taylor Field and scores twice in the seventh inning to beat Springfield 4-3. During the summer, the Corvallis Post No. 11 American Legion team sponsored by Wilson Motors and a semi-pro team sponsored by O’Toole Motors play their home games at Hansen Stadium at Taylor Field.
1953 – During the summer, a lighting system is installed to give Hansen Stadium at Taylor Field the capability to hold night baseball games. This is the culmination of a community fundraising drive that had begun in 1950, when the idea was first advanced to obtain lights and give the ballpark the capacity to host night baseball games.
1976 – The lighting system deteriorates to the point that state American Legion officials threaten to prohibit Corvallis from hosting playoff games. A drive begins to raise money to purchase and install new light poles and fixtures; the main method of fundraising is a newspaper recycling drive.
1977 – The ballpark’s first fully-electronic scoreboard is installed just beyond the first-base bleachers; it is purchased by the parents of the 1976 American Legion team. It replaces the wooden, hand-operated scoreboard that had stood beyond the third-base bleachers.
1980 – The community fundraising effort results in a new lighting system with concrete standards and higher-intensity fixtures. The system is dedicated midway through the American Legion season.
1983 – As the summer starts, work begins on a new concession stand and press box behind the home plate bleachers. Work on the structure will continue through the American Legion season.
1984 – The Corvallis American Legion program prepares a bid to host a future Pacific Northwest Regional. This will require upgraded and expanded seating, and work begins on funding and constructing grandstands.
1985 – The grandstand sections behind home plate and the first-base line are ready for the start of the season. By June, the third-base grandstand is complete; by the end of the summer, an additional grandstand section down the first-base line increases seating capacity to approximately 2,000.
1986 – In preparation for the American Legion Pacific Northwest Regional, a new scoreboard is installed on the light standard in right-centerfield.
1990 – With the American Legion World Series to be played at Hansen Stadium at Taylor Field, American Legion national officials supervise the renovation of the entire playing surface. Decks are added on either side of the press box, connecting the press box to the back rows of the grandstands on the first-base and third-base sides. For the American Legion World Series, temporary bleachers expand the seating capacity to 5,000.
1994 – With the American Legion Pacific Northwest Regional to be played in Corvallis, additional lighting fixtures are installed. Also, a new tournament headquarters/storage building is completed under the third-base stands.
1996 – With the American Legion State Tournament to be held at Hansen Stadium at Taylor Field, a new scoreboard with inning-by-inning score display is installed in right-centerfield.
2000 – A series of work parties is held by community organizations to replace the seating and footing planks in the grandstand areas.
2001, August 8 – Prior to the first Corvallis game at the American Legion State Tournament, the ballpark is renamed Hansen Stadium at Taylor Field in honor of Gene and Helen Hansen. In 1946, Gene Hansen coached the first post-World War II American Legion team in Corvallis; since taking over as the program’s general manager in 1978, he and wife Helen had spearheaded the growth of the program and improvements to the ballpark.
2004 – With the American Legion World Series returning to Hansen Stadium at Taylor Field, several improvements are made to the ballpark. In March, Gene Hansen dies while working at the ballpark and his memorial service is held on the diamond. The press box is rebuilt and enlarged; improvements include a restroom on the media level. The old backstop, whose many posts and chain-link fencing which had hindered the view of spectators, is removed and a new backstop of nylon netting with only four poles is installed.
2007 – Tennis courts are constructed behind leftfield, resulting in the leftfield fence being moved in and doubled in height.
2009 – The American Legion State Tournament will be held at Hansen Stadium at Taylor Field, but in the spring the wooden grandstands are deemed unsafe and ordered torn down. A community grant is secured to rent temporary seating for the American Legion season and the tournament, and planning begins to fund and design a new grandstand.
Story to be continued with your help.