The Grande Dames of Ivy League football are the historic stadiums of the elite eight. This post we focus on the historic stadiums, listed in chronological order.
Harvard Stadium brings to mind the Roman Colosseum. The concrete horseshow structure was erected in 1903 and was the first reinforced concrete stadium in America. Harvard Stadium is pockmarked with portals over its entire outer surface and is crowned by a colonnade.
Harvard Stadium as depicted on a Wedgwood Tile
Continuing the pattern of concrete horseshoe construction, Princeton’s Palmer Stadium held its first game on October 24, 1914, with the hole team beating Dartmouth 16-12. Less ornate than its predecessor at Harvard, Palmer nonetheless affords the viewer a good look from its fairly steep-rising sides.
Opening one month after Princeton’s stadium the cavernous Yale Bowl opened on November 21, 1914 when the Blue was blown out by Harvard 36-0. The big saucer is about one-half below ground level and can be very murky in the wrong kind of weather.
Erected on the highest point of the campus and dominated by a huge colonnade-topped concrete crescent, Cornell’s Schoellkopf Field was opened in 1915. Those seated high on the crescent side can see far below the waters of Lake Cayuga and beyond the often colorful hills of central New York State.
The most urban of all the Ivy League stadia is Penn’s Franklin Field. Its double-decked brick grandstand furnishes a good vantage point. The current structure has evolved through a number of alterations and the site has been used for Penn sports since 1893. Today’s stadium essentially dates from 1922, with the upper deck completed in 1925.
Franklin Field depicted on an early program
Columbia’s Baker Field is situated at the top of Manhattan and opened in 1923. The green-planked horseshoe was known for a long time as the largest all-wooden college football stadium. The atmosphere is punctuated by such diversions as trains winding their way along a cliff on the far side of the Spuyten Duyvil or a Circle Line cruiser passing through the same channel.
Huge Friday night bonfires on the Green, Saturday’s chicken barbecues just outside Dartmouth’s Memorial Field’s gates, the charm of the small New England village and the golden autumn hills all serve to make a visit to Hanover something special. Tiny Memorial Field opened in 1923 and has seating for only 15,600.
Brown Stadium is probably the least known of all the Iveys. Architecturally the stadium resembles that at Cornell with a large concrete stand 72 rows high on one side and a low concrete visitors’ gallery on the other. Located some miles from the main campus, it is surrounded by residential houses and gives little indication of its city address. It opened in 1925.
Adapted from an article by Bill Stryker which appeared in Yale Princeton program November 6, 1976.
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