Memorial Stadium (University of Minnesota)

Memorial Stadium (University of Minnesota)

Memorial Stadium
"The Brick House"
Original entrance of Memorial Stadium, now located inside the McNamara Alumni Center
Location University Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Coordinates
Owner University of Minnesota
Operator University of Minnesota
Capacity 56,652 (1970-81)
52,809 (1924-69)
Surface Natural grass (1977-81)
Tartan Turf (1970-76)
Natural grass (1924-69)
Construction
Broke ground March 6, 1924
Opened October 4, 1924
Closed November 21, 1981
Demolished 1992
Tenants
Minnesota Golden Gophers (NCAA) (1924-81)

Memorial Stadium, also known as the "Brick House", was an outdoor athletic stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. It was the home of the Minnesota Golden Gophers football team for 58 seasons, from 1924 until 1981. Before moving to Memorial Stadium in 1924, the Gophers played at Northrop Field. Starting in 1982, the Gophers played their home games in the new Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, and Memorial Stadium was demolished a decade later. After 27 seasons indoors, the Gophers returned to campus in 2009 at the new TCF Bank Stadium, a block from the site of Memorial Stadium.

Contents

  • History 1
  • Move to Metrodome 1982 2
  • University Aquatic center 3
  • Aftermath 4
  • Attendance 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

History

The stadium opened on October 14, 1924. It was dedicated to 3527 students, graduates, and workers who served in World War I, which had ended six years earlier. The stadium sat on approximately 11 acres (45,000 m²).

While Memorial Stadium was its home, the football team won six national championships including three consecutive (1934–1936). The championship years were 1934, 1935, 1936, 1940, 1941, and 1960. The official capacity of the stadium during the 1970s was listed as 56,652. The stadium seated approximately 66,000 people with additional temporary bleachers, although many of the seats were far away from the field. The stadium's attendance record was 66,284, set in 1966 against Purdue on November 18.[1]

Memorial Stadium also served as the university's track and field venue, and was an occasional back-up venue for professional football and soccer. In 1969, the NFL's Minnesota Vikings played a regular season game against the Green Bay Packers at Memorial Stadium, due to a conflict with a Minnesota Twins playoff game at Metropolitan Stadium. The Vikings also played a 1971 pre-season game at Memorial. The Minnesota Kicks of the NASL played one game at Memorial Stadium, which was also their last. They played a 1981 playoff game there on September 6 against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and lost 3-0. The game was moved due to a schedule conflict with the Minnesota Twins at Met Stadium.

Memorial Stadium served as the anchor for Stadium Village, a small commercial area at the southeast portion of the Twin Cities campus.

Move to Metrodome 1982

Pressured by downtown Minneapolis business interests and athletic boosters, the school elected to move out of the stadium to the new Metrodome, about two miles (3 km) away, during the spring of 1982. Athletic director Paul Giel cited the advantages of recruiting by playing in a new NFL venue. Also, the attendance was expected to go up in the late fall with protection from harsh weather.[2] The stadium had been neglected by this time, and was badly in need of renovation.[2] New coach Lou Holtz gave an impassioned speech when the time came in 1984 to decide whether to remain at the Metrodome, and declared that "Athletes want to play at the Dome."[2]

University Aquatic center

Following the move, the University of Minnesota proposed a new natatorium that would extend into the field at the open end of the horseshoe and ensure that there could be no return to Memorial Stadium. After legal challenges to halt construction of the natatorium failed, the Aquatic Center opened in 1990 and the stadium was torn down two years later. The original brick entrance arch was preserved, and when the McNamara Alumni Center was built on the same site it was installed in the interior atrium over the entrance to a small museum.

Aftermath

The move to the Metrodome proved to be disappointing in the long run, as the home games lost the charm of being on a college campus.[3] The Gophers had the lowest priority in scheduling, behind the Twins and Vikings, and had to move games if the Twins were in the baseball playoffs. The university also gave up most concession and parking revenue, although their portion of the rent was the lowest of the three Metrodome tenants.

On May 20, 2006, the Minnesota state legislature passed a bill providing funding for a new stadium on the university campus, to be named TCF Bank Stadium and completed in the fall of 2009. The original Memorial Stadium site could not be used, due to the construction of the aquatic and alumni centers. The new stadium is located about a block from where the old stadium once stood, and was designed so that the alumni center on the old site is visible through the open end of the horseshoe.

Dedication above the main entryway.

Attendance

References

  1. ^ Memorial Stadium Information from Gophersports.com The official athletic site of the University of Minnesota
  2. ^ a b c Brackin, Dennis - [Memorial Stadium: An unfair end? http://www.startribune.com/sports/gophers/55900867.html] Star Tribune, September 2, 2009
  3. ^  
  •  
  • University of Minnesota 2006 Football Media Guide - Records
  • University of Minnesota 2006 Football Media Guide - History

External links

Events and tenants
Preceded by
Northrop Field
Host of the
Minnesota Gophers

1924 – 1981
Succeeded by
Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome