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The second game of the World Series took place Wednesday night between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Some might be surprised to know that there is a rich piece of Black history attached to the former Jacobs Field, along with a connection to actress Kym E. Whitley’s family.


In the early ’60’s, the award-winning Whitley/Whitley Architects and Planners, LLC was formed by Ms. Whitley’s father, William, and his brother, James. Their late sister, Joyce Whitley, joined the firm in the late ’60’s and served as the company’s vice-president. Throughout Cleveland and nationwide, the company spearheaded several major projects including the Cleveland Public Library, the Tower City Center building, and the John F. Kennedy Recreation Center among other notable projects.

The firm joined with HOK Sports to build the $175 million Jacobs Field for the Indians. HOK became a major player in sports complex design after completing the build for the Baltimore Orioles’ Orioles Park at Camden Yards, a fan favorite among major league baseball arenas. The stadium, nicknamed “The Jake,” officially opened in 1994 and was officially renamed in 2008 after it was purchased by the Ohio-based Progressive Corporation.

Along with the aforementioned family members, Ms. Whitley’s brothers, Kyle and Scott, and cousin, Kent, were also members of the Whitley/Whitley Jacobs Field team.

The firm has won several awards, including the HUD Biennial Design Award, the House and Home Award, and the Progressive Architectural Award for Site Design Planning for their involvement with the Jacobs Field design.

PHOTO: Gage Skidmore Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Little Known Black History Fact: Kym Whitley’s Architect Family  was originally published on