JP Small Memorial Stadium is one of the last historic sports parks in Jacksonville. The Durkee family once owned the property. Joseph Durkee, a former Civil War Union officer, settled in Jacksonville following the war. In 1911, his son, gave control of the property to Jacksonville Baseball Association President Amander Barrs that became the site used by local teams, including the Jacksonville Tars and the African-American ball team, the Jacksonville Athletics, a team on which James Weldon Johnson played.
Major League Baseball teams, including the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers played at the field. In 1936, after the original stadium was destroyed by fire, the present structure was built with a larger building that afforded space for a separate section to seat African American patrons in the era of segregation.
During the 1920s and 1930s, Negro League greats, including Satchel Paige, played at Durkee Field. Jacksonville’s only Negro League team, the Jacksonville Red Caps, made up of employees of the East Coast Railroad, used the Myrtle Avenue Ball Park as their home field. In 1953, 19 year old Hank Aaron played his first game with the newly integrated Jacksonville Braves (home team for the Milwaukee Braves).