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Fenway Park added to National Register of Historic Places

On June 9, 1946, Ted Williams connected for the longest home run ever hit into the Fenway bleachers. To commemorate the feat a single red seat was installed amidst a field of green bleacher seats.
On June 9, 1946, Ted Williams connected for the longest home run ever hit into the Fenway bleachers. To commemorate the feat a single red seat was installed amidst a field of green bleacher seats.(Barry Chin/Globe Staff)

Fenway Park, the storied, century-old home of the Boston Red Sox, has been added to the National Register of Historic Places, the Massachusetts secretary of state’s office announced today.

“Listing Fenway Park in the National Register will help preserve this exceptional place for future generations to enjoy, and recognizes its 100th anniversary this year,” Secretary of State William F. Galvin said in a statement.

The Massachusetts Historical Commission, which is chaired by Galvin, approved the nomination for the listing in December and the ballpark was added today, Galvin’s office said.

The listing is an honor. It also means that any work done in or around the park requiring federal or state funding or permitting has to be reviewed by the commission to determine its effect on the historic nature of the park. And it makes available certain federal tax incentives for rehabilitation work done there according to National Register standards, said secretary of state’s spokesman Brian McNiff.

More than 70,000 properties in Massachusetts are listed in the National Register program, which is administered in the state by the historical commission.

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The team welcomed the news. “The commitment to preserve all that is good about Fenway Park was made to fans more than a decade ago, and we are pleased that Fenway Park will be counted among America’s most treasured historical places, ensuring that it is protected and enjoyed by future generations,” the Red Sox said in a statement.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino said in a statement that Fenway is “part of the identity of the City of Boston. ... I’m glad to know that Fenway will be there for future generations to appreciate.”

Fenway, once famously described by writer John Updike as “a lyric little bandbox of a ballpark,” is the nation’s oldest operating major league baseball stadium and has served as a stage for legendary players including Ted Williams and Babe Ruth. Construction began in September 1911; the ballpark opened seven months later. In their first year in the park, the Red Sox won the 1912 World Series, Galvin’s office said.

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The park has been altered over the years to upgrade the facility and improve the experience for fans and players, but “its appearance today is remarkably similar to that of decades ago,” Galvin’s office said.

The Red Sox in December announced plans for a series of events to celebrate the park’s centennial. The Red Sox statement said the team looked forward to a formal celebration of the historic designation sometime during the season.