Ohio Stadium: Stadium Memories

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Articles on the 50th Anniversary written about the Dedication Day

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Articles from Ohio State Monthly about Dedication Day

Articles written for the Ohio State Monthly, October 1922

William P. Dumont
Executive Secretary, Ohio Stadium Committee

FIVE hundred workers toiling like beavers to finish the Stadium by October 21, Dedication Day. Students in dusty and endless procession, daily, to and from the big horseshoe - wide-eyed sightseers all. Over on Ohio Field a hundred sweating, struggling scrubs, freshman and varsity players are battling nightly to perfect the team that will clash with the Maize and Blue. It's the Stadium year. The matchless magnet over near the river front casts its irresistible spell.

By the time this magazine reaches its readers, two games will have been played and the air will be tense on the eve of Michigan's coming.

Folks here on the home ground had their first great thrill on the almost torrid Saturday afternoon of September 30 when Dr. J.W. Wilce led his scarlet-jerseyed warriors on the Stadium's new green velvet turf for the first time. Scores of casual visitors to the Stadium that afternoon were the lucky watchers of that first scrimmage and practice game, an historic event, and these heard Dr. Wilce lead his proteges in two cheers which woke the first Stadium echoes - for Professor T.E. French, who was the first indomitable sponsor of the Stadium idea and Samuel N. Summer, 1905, whose industry and leadership as campaign chairman made possible the gift. Then the crowd cheered the team.

Weeks before the team reported for practice, restless fandom was tugging at the leash. Thousands of State Fair visitors made side trips to the Stadium. Increasing numbers count not complete that Sunday afternoon in which they neglect to join the clambering throng of breathless sightseers in the Stadium.

EVERYONE IS COMING

For days after the bars were let down, admitting a flood of advance ticket orders, mail was delivered to the Stadium office in Ohio Union in a clothes basket. Everyone is coming home for the 21st. From California to New York, the orders are coming. Indicative of the interest in hitherto unfevered spots, Chillicothe, Ohio, Rotarians, 75 of them, are going to bring an equal number of high school lads to the dedication jamboree. Special trains are chartered from Cleveland, Toledo, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Pittsburgh, Chicago and other points. The whole of southern Michigan threatens to cross the state line on the 20th and 21st. "Hurry Up" Yost, who has seen a few crowds in his day, called our 7000 at Ann Arbor last year the greatest throng that ever migrated from one state to another for an intercollegiate event. He hasn't said a word about returning any of the 15,000 tickets for the Michigan section at the dedication game.

Preparations are in motion to convert the greatest invasion of automobiles in the history of Columbus into an orderly procession at the city gates. University officials have designated approximately 35 acres on the campus to be limed for parking stalls. They expect to accommodate 5700 machines on the Eleventh Avenue side of the campus, behind the Shops Building at Neil and Woodruff avenues, on campus drives, along the river road and in city streets near the campus. Even historic old Ohio Field, rich in tradition and still guardian of the confidences of secret practice, may come to grief as parking space.

In the Stadium office, meantime, all is stir. Assigning 63,000 seats is something of an endurance test in itself. But tickets must also be mailed out and finally taken back again at the turnstiles. Ah, yes, the turnstiles. They'll spin like whirligigs the day of the game.

The throng will pour through 33 turnstiles, three at the north or main entrance and three at each of five gates on each side of the Stadium, located at the "blind" or solid concrete arches. Section numbers will run from one to 28, even numbers to the east, odd numbers to the alumni, students and faculty sections on the west side. Tickets lettered "A" are for seats in the lower deck between rows one and 20. "B" indicates a seat location in the top half of the lower deck, ascent to which is made by ramps. "C" tickets are for the top deck.

You will want to hunt your seat early on Dedication Day, for crowds move slowly and the ceremonial program is scheduled for 12:45. Tedious pomp will be omitted. The committee on program promises that. But what there is will be impressive. The field must be clear by 1:30. The game begins sharply at two o'clock Central Standard time.

Governors, cabinet members, judges, legislators and educators, as well as athletes whose names were on the lips of fans in years gone by, will march in the pre-game parade. Headed by the Michigan and Ohio State bands, the procession will enter the Stadium from the open end with the colors, the "Stadium Girl," cabinet members and congressmen, members of the judiciary, Governors Davis of Ohio and Groesbeck of Michigan, Dr. W.O. Thompson and President Burton of Michigan at the head of the column.

Doubling back on the playing field, the column will come to a halt before the new flag pole at the open end of the Stadium. While the bands play strains of alma mater songs of the various "Big Ten" Universities, representatives of each Western Conference university will raise pennants of their respective schools on 30-foot steel flag poles atop the wall of the Stadium. Thirty pennants, three sent by each Conference member, will snap in the breeze at game time. Michigan colors will be first to go up in the Stadium. The Scarlet and Gray of Ohio State will be last to fit into the intercollegiate rainbow.

The proudly waving pennants will give setting to the re-appearance of Miss Eloise Fromme, 1921, in the role of "Stadium Girl," voted her in the fall of 1920 when the campaign for funds with which to finance construction was launched. The bands will play "The Star Spangled Banner." Miss Fromme will raise the national colors. Cadets will fire a salute of 21 guns, the ceremonial finale.

While dignitaries are retiring to the sidelines, the holiday throng will have a few minutes to exchange impressions and be conscious for the first time, perhaps, of the nervous tension that plays havoc with spines just before the first whistle.

You will marvel at the immensity of the Stadium, in spite of all you have read. Architecturally, the chief features are the hemispherical dome, 70 feet in diameter and 86 feet high, spanning the main entrance; 81 arches, each 13 feet wide, and 56 feet high; and four towers, two at the main entrance, the other two at the peg ends of the horseshoe, each 109 feet high and 36 feet square. Field houses, trophy rooms and offices will occupy the towers. The Stadium wall proper towers 98 feet, has an outside measurement of one-third mile and encloses a ground area of nearly 10 acres. Eighty-one steel gates, each 8 feet high and 13 feet wide, fasten into the entries between the towering shafts of concrete that girdle the outside of the Stadium. Fifty two portals on the lower deck and 29 in the upper deck feed 107 aisles in a way to permit of emptying the Stadium in seven minutes.

Sixty-three thousand permanent seats are provided, but an additional 10,000 people can be seated by throwing temporary bleachers into the open end of the horseshoe shaped structure.

In being U-shaped, the $1,341,000 Ohio Stadium follows the plan of the Harvard plant, but the double deck feature of the Ohio plan is distinctive. Advantages ascribed to the second deck are the bringing of 21,000 seats much closer to the playing field and the sheltering of half the lower deck. Should the open end of the Ohio Stadium be permanently closed in some future day, the resultant seating capacity will approach 100,000.

But Memories Can't Be Sold

What hopes and fears it supported, how it groaned under the weight of discouraged visiting fans, how it rollicked with glee over State's triumphs when loyal Buckeyes shared in a triumph of the gridiron at its feet. It is no more.

The east stand on Ohio Field is demolished. Bit by bit it was unbolted, stacked up and carted away. It will play an important part in other triumphs and defeats, but ever such as those of yester year. It is to be re-erected on Edwards Field at Ohio Wesleyan. Sold for $1000!

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Dr. J. W. Wilce
Ohio State Football Coach

"Build thee more stately mansions, O my Soul, as the swift season roll." The Ohio Stadium is a reality. The idea followed the 1915 season and was given its great boom by the sound growth resulting from years of clean, hard play with an excellent record of games won. The State of Ohio has expressed its desire for maintenance of universal educational sport, topped off by sound intercollegiate athletics. Students, alumni, faculty and friends of our great Ohio State University have grown as they have made possible its practical construction.

The Stadium is not a monument, however, in its largest interpretation; it is a living stimulation toward the maintenance of strong , virile, clean, active elements in the broad field of education.

It is a structure of remarkable beauty as a structure, but the beauty needs to be carried over into the activities for which it is originally constructed. We need to maintain the fundamental philosophy that the value of any effort lies in its completeness, whole-souledness and integrity, rather than in any superficial results.

Allow me to submit that the Stadium is in a sense the culmination of an attempt at an athletic ideal. It needs to be maintained as an art gallery of activity, or a library of action. The constant opportunity offers for it to become instead a penny arcade of tremendous proportion. I trust the great co-operative body, which has made it possible, will continue to hold it in the proper light.

The Stadium spirit should be that which is conveyed by the Greek word aidos. The closest interpretation we have is sportsmanship. Aidos is more. It is the spirit that is strong in defeat and modest in victory; it is the spirit of clean, hard give-and-take, without swagger, or braggadocio. It is the amateur spirit of hard playing, sound sportsmanship in its highest form.

It is the hope of many that the very walls and physical structure of the Ohio Stadium will radiate this wholesome spirit. In order that this may be so, those who watch and react to events - as well as the members of teams - will need to have this thought. We want the people of Ohio State University, the city of Columbus, and State of Ohio to help establish and maintain this spirit, to make it a part of the everyday life of Ohio.

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Wilred B. Shaw
General Alumni Secretary, University of Michigan

Michigan is coming down to Columbus on October 21, 10,000 to 15,000 strong, just out of an overpowering curiosity to see what is going to happen in Ohio State's new stadium on that day. Michigan doesn't wish any bad luck to her good friends in Columbus. Rather she has a sincere hope that the best team may win; but, as a corollary to this hope is a conviction that Michigan will have the best team! All this promises a great migration from Michigan to Ohio. It will be a great day in Western athletic history, and, we hope, another knot in a bond that is uniting so closely these two great mid-western state universities.

Michigan is greatly interested in Ohio State's new stadium. The progress of the campaign to secure it has been closely watched by students and graduates, and perhaps we are just a little flattered at being chosen as the ones to help dedicate it. There has been a sort of a tradition that new stadiums are unlucky, - for the home team. Ohio State, however, need have no fear on any such superstitious score, for, to quote our Secretary of the Navy, who played football for Michigan back in the nineties, "the game's the thing." And he said, "Football is a game, a gentleman's sport, not a battle between enemies."

FRIENDLY RIVALS, NOT FOES

There, in a nut-shell, is the secret of the future successful development of intercollegiate athletics. Time was, and not so very long ago at that, when it was difficult to have keen intercollegiate contests without a ground current of enmity springing up. We trust that day is past. College sport is admittedly on a high plane in the universities of the Western Conference, and though conditions are not perfect yet, they are improving every year. The best symptom of this improvement is the friendly spirit that continues in spite of many a hard fought contest.

In particular, one of the marked developments in the Conference in recent years has been the friendly rivalry between the neighboring state universities of Michigan and Ohio. The rivalry is entirely natural, in view of the strength and geographical position of the two institutions, which have bucked each other's line now for so many years. Moreover it has been growing in recent years, until now the two institutions may in truth be called "dear enemies."

ATHLETICS TYPIFY AMERICAN SPIRIT

There are those of course even in this day and age who criticise inter-collegiate athletics as a great waste of time and energy. They see the great expenditures, the occasional unfortunate incidents, and the over-emphasis of sport in the minds of some students and graduates, to the entire exclusion of the other side of the picture.

They do not see that inter-collegiate athletics are a legitimate, and almost inevitable, expression of the American spirit, the adventurous zest in life, that inspired the forebears of our students of the present day to settle in the wilderness at about the time the universities of Michigan and Ohio were founded. Then too, with this spirit of enterprise and struggle, we have also the typically American gift for organization and a certain idealism, shown in the sentiment which every college man has for his Alma Mater. Mix all these up in a college "bowl" and heat them on a gridiron, and you have intercollegiate football of the present day.

PREPARATION FOR LIFE

But there is more to intercollegiate athletics than this, as Dean Hugh Cabot, of Michigan's Medical School, is fond of emphasizing; and Dean Cabot knows, because he is at work helping condition the team throughout the season. Nowhere, in his estimation, can an American youth get certain qualities that prepare so well for life, as in college athletics. Self-reliance, ability to think quickly in an emergency, the spirit of team play and good-sportsmanship are all just as important in life as they are in a football or baseball team. And nowhere are they taught so well and so effectively as on our athletic fields.

So Michigan is fully prepared to win that game; that is the only frame of mind in good sportsmanship. So also, it goes without saying, is Ohio State. Only the game will decide, but whichever wins, it is to be hoped that it will form a closer tie in the growing friendship between the two institutions.

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