Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The University of Minnesota Memorial Stadium

From the University of Minnesota Hisory Web Site

"During a campus drive that lasted only one month, 1,500 students and faculty raised $665,000. Every time another 25,000 was pledged, a cannon was fired across campus to cheers of "Boom, boom, stadioom!" The association turned over the November 7, 1922, edition of its magazine, the Minnesota Alumni Weekly, to the students, who produced a special issues calling on alumni to support the stadium ("Alumni of Minnesota, the challenge has been made, the goal has been set, the answer is awaited, you will make good because you are men and women of Minnesota, children of a state which never fails"). Brochures (What Does the University Mean to Minneapolis?) and a song ("Dig Down, Gophers") were written. The association, working with the American Legion, led an alumni campaign in every county and state and every state in the union, hoping to personally contact each of the University's 38,000 alumni. Alumni staged University Day in Minneapolis, and 5,000 undergraduates marched up Hennepin Avenue. An additional $1 million was raised, with 7,025 pledges coming in from all over the country and as far away as Japan. Every cent went to the building fund; the alumni committee underwrote all campaign expenses.
By September a site for the stadium (at Oak and University) and a design (U-shaped instead of a bowl) had been chosen. A team of four faculty members headed by Frederick Mann from the University's Department of Architecture designed the stadium in collaboration with Osborne Engineering of Cleveland, Ohio. A ground-breaking event was held March 6, 1924, a cornerstone laying ceremony on June 17.
By July 1924, 475 workers were on the site ten hours a day, six days a week. The Minneapolis-based James Leck Company built the stadium in seven months&emdashabout 40 days ahead of schedule&emdashat a cost of $572,000. (The remaining funds raised in the campaign went toward the construction of Northrop Auditorium in 1929.) The stadium covered approximately eleven acres.

On October 2, 1924, the first official event, a freshman convocation, was held in the stadium. On October 4, the Gophers won the first foot-ball game ever played in Memorial, beating North Dakota 14-0. Tickets were $1.50.

In 1992 the Memorial Stadium was torn down under Nils Haselmo's term as University of Minnesota President.

"The University’s current plan for a new $235 million campus stadium has the University raising 60 percent—in large part through private funds—and the state kicking in the remaining 40 percent of the cost."


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