By Olivia Dieker
The stadium was the first horseshoe-shaped double-deck stadium in the United States at the time. It was open to the south, sheltered from the north wind. This massive stadium required 40,000 cubic yards of concrete and 4,000 tons of steel. When you stand in the stadium, you realize how sublime this amazing piece of architecture is.
Howard Dwight Smith is the architect of this stadium. He graduated from The Ohio State University in Civil Engineering in Architecture and after graduation he continued to study architecture in Columbia. After this, he joined the firm of John Russell Pope. At this firm he worked on projects such as the Vanderbilt mansion and Henry Clay Frick’s New York Fifth Avenue mansion. He earned the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal for Public Building Design for designing Ohio Stadium. Inspiration for this stadium came from the two biggest stadiums at the time: Harvard and Yale. However, once this stadium was built it became the largest stadium west of the Appalachian Mountains at the time.
This stadium is a great example of Neoclassical architecture. The precedent for this stadium could be the Roman Coliseum, as well as the Pantheon. This stadium has a total of 78 arches as well as two decks of seating, a rotunda and two towers. The entrances to the field are also ramps.
The construction of this new stadium started in 1921 and it was completed in 1922. The building was originally thought to cost $900,000, but ended up initially costing around $1.6 million (not including renovation costs). This stadium also initially seated around 60,000 fans.
Since its completion in 1922, this stadium has been through many different attempted renovations. First in 1926, after a brutal defeat of Ohio State against Michigan, due to the standing room only stadium, the fans rioted and stormed the fields hurting themselves and others. After this, they created seating throughout the stadium.
In 1944, an idea to build an octagonal building on the north side of the shoe was pitched. This structure would be used as a field house and auditorium. This location for the octagon building was later shut down, and created in another location and is now known as St. John’s Arena.
In 1954, a bell was donated by the classes of 1943, 1944 and 1954. This bell was placed 150 feet above the field in the southeast tower. It is now rung after every victory by members of Alpha Phi Omega.
In 1971 an idea was proposed to close the horseshoe and add more seating to the stadium. This renovation was halted when this stadium was added to the National Register of Historic Places on March 10, 1974. Temporary stands were placed there in the 1980s that were taken down in between seasons. In the 1970s, major repairs were done to restore and waterproof the concrete stadium. Astroturf was installed in 1970.
In 1995, the demand for more seating caused a lot of changes. The track around the field was replaced with another row of seating, a level of seating was added above C deck, and more permanent south stands were built. The stadium could now seat 90,000 fans. Over the years more press boxes were also added as more the demand for reporter seats increased.
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