Modern Woodmen Park, which opened in 1931 as Davenport Municipal Stadium and was previously known as John O'Donnell Stadium, is the oldest stadium used continuously by a current Minor League Baseball team for more than 50 years. The current Midwest League franchise has played in it continuously since 1960.
Municipal Stadium, as it was originally called, opened along the Davenport riverfront on May 26, 1931 to an opening-day crowd of 3,000. It has served as the home of baseball in the Quad Cities ever since.
The stadium had undergone precious little change until 1971 when it was renamed John O'Donnell Stadium, in honor of the Davenport Times-Democrat sports editor whose role in area athletics spanned four decades. In 1989 it received a $4.5 million dollar facelift, including the installation of box seats.
But in August of 2002, plans for a full-scale renovation were unveiled to usher Quad Cities baseball into the 21st century. Expansions included 20 climate-controlled luxury suites, home and road clubhouses, batting cages, two picnic areas, two team stores, the Sports Lounge, and a video scoreboard. Although many things changed, two things that remain from the original stadium are the classic brick facade and, of course, one of the most stunning views in all of professional sports: the Mighty Mississippi River flowing beneath the breathtaking Centennial Bridge.
In December of 2007, the ballpark received another new name. As Main Street Iowa took over ownership of the club and rebranded it as the Quad Cities River Bandits once again, the organization announced a 10-year naming rights partnership with Modern Woodmen of America that redubbed the facility Modern Woodmen Park.
Since then, Modern Woodmen Park has earned as many accolades as any ballpark in the country. It was voted the "best minor league ballpark" in America by the readers of USA Today and 10Best.com and the Midwest League's best ballpark by Baseball America. It earned a 5-star rating from Ballpark Digest, was named one of the two most beautiful ballparks in minor league baseball by USA Today, one of the top 10 in the nation by Parade Magazine, and was selected "the #2 Coolest Minor League Ballpark in America" by Complex Magazine.
In recent years, improvements have included new flood protection, a new front plaza, and a new parking lot directly across the street from the ballpark - quickly making Modern Woodmen Park one of the premier facilities in all of Minor League Baseball. Many fun new features have been added to the ballpark, including a new outfield bar, picnic area, five concourse-level "loge boxes," an 80-foot long high-definition ribbon-board, a 20' x 36' HD videoboard, a new playground, birthday room, concession stand and a dozen new portable food carts, a Hall of Fame autographed jersey display, an unmatched collection of bobbleheads from across the country and a corn field from where the players are introduced before games.
In 2011, the Bandits unveiled their spectacular new Budweiser Champions Club, a large, glass-enclosed multi-purpose banquet hall with glass garage doors that open and close based on the weather. It was voted by Ballpark Digest as "the best ballpark renovation under $1 million."
In 2014, the River Bandits two new group areas - a set of 50 new swivel-chair seats adjacent to the field and 18 new seats adjacent to the visitor's dugout - as well as a 105-foot tall Ferris wheel - the first installed inside a Minor League Baseball stadium - that transformed the Quad Cities' skyline and was named by Ballpark Digest as "the nation's best ballpark improvement", marking the fourth time in seven years Modern Woodmen Park earned that award. Other amusement additions included a 30-foot tall Drop'N Twist and a NASA-inspired gyroscope called "Space Camp" to go with an expanded 300-foot long zip line and several bounce houses.
Modern Woodmen Park- where the fun never stops!