Excerpted: “Classic Boom–Minerva’s Temple In Guatemala Is Blown Up For Baseball Fans,” Life, (1953)

Minerva: Totally into wisdom and check out that great rack. Not too shabby.

Came across this strange article in a 1953 issue of Life magazine. “Classic Boom: Minerva’s Temple in Guatemala is Blown Up for Baseball Fans” chronicles a Central American temple being exploded to extend the stands of a baseball stadium. Minerva was the Roman equivalent of the Greek goddess Athena, so she was quite the A-list deity. Baseball is still played in Guatemala City today at the Enrique “Trapo” Torrebiarte Stadium–same site?–but I don’t believe there are any current MLB players from Guatemala. The opening of the article:

“Fierce Don Manuel Estrada Cabrera, dictator of Guatemala from 1898 to 1920, was a man of many quirks. To get elected president he used to draft all males into the army on election day, decorate them with campaign buttons and march them into the polls to vote for him. To encourage education he built temples to Minerva, Goddess of Learning, and called out the citizenry to hold fiestas around the shrines. In due time Don Manuel was forced out of office by an angry electorate which had come into possession of a few cannons. But his monuments remained. A baseball park grew up near the one in Guatemala City and as the game grew more popular more room was needed for grandstands. So one day last month Minerva’s temple came tumbling down, victim of ‘beisbol’ and large charges of dynamite.”

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