By 1930, Fred Oesterreich was one of a few people in Rochester to have ever seen a baseball game played at night. His fascination led him to order 44 lighting reflectors from the Giant Illumination Company of Council Buffs, Iowa.

Within 10 days after signing contracts with the Olmsted County Fair Board, Oesterreich had transformed the fairground’s racetrack into a baseball park. The track’s grandstands would hold 3,000 baseball fans.

The night before the first game, it was discovered that the light bulbs for the reflectors were stuck in Chicago after being shipped from Cleveland. Max Conrad, a pilot from Winona, left for Chicago at 3 a.m., returning in plenty of time to install the bulbs before the game.

Unfortunately, on May 29, 1930, fewer than 300 fans braved below-freezing temperatures to witness the Albert Lea Tigers’ come-from-behind victory over the Detroit Colored Giants in Minnesota’s first-ever baseball game played under the lights.

“Lens on History” is a weekly photo feature by Lee Hilgendorf, a volunteer at the History Center of Olmsted County.