Mayor James E. Dalaney, in his inaugural address, first advocated a park system for Holyoke in 1884. In 1895, Elmwood Park was established, and has been used for outdoor activities ever since. In 1908, the Charles Ranlet estate was purchased for $9,000 adding 14 acres to Elmwood Park. This enlarged tract made perfect sense for a centralized sporting ground due to its proximity to Holyoke High School, Trade School, and Sacred Heart Schools. Portable bleachers were first used in 1937. In 1938, with a Works Progress Administration grant of $35,392, permanent cement bleachers were installed along with the construction of the shelter house, which featured a team rooms, recreation room, and showers. In 1949, night baseball was first played here under temporary lights. August 7, 1959 featured the first game under permeant lights installed by the Holyoke Gas & Electric Department and a new electric scoreboard donated by Julian Marquis. In 1978, the Millers moved in, and concession stands and a third base dugout were built.
MacKenzie Field is named in honor of John S. MacKenzie, who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. In 1917, MacKenzie saved 80 of his shipmates on the converted yacht Remlik. During a storm, a Sperry depth charge came untied and washed onto the deck. MacKenzie held onto the depth charge until the ship got to calmer water and the charge could be re lashed to the ship.© 2008 Paul Healey.