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Soldier Field

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"Stadium in a Park"
Soldier Field in 2006
Former names Municipal Grant Park Stadium (1924–1925)
Location 1410 S Museum Campus Drive, Chicago, Illinois, U.S., 60605

41°51′45″N 87°37′0″W / 41.86250°N 87.61667°W / 41.86250; -87.61667Coordinates: 41°51′45″N 87°37′0″W / 41.86250°N 87.61667°W / 41.86250; -87.61667{{#coordinates:41|51|45|N|87|37|0|W|type:landmark_scale:2000 |primary |name=

Public transit Museum Campus/11th Street (Metra station)
18th Street (Metra station)
Owner City of Chicago
Operator SMG
Executive suites 133
Capacity 61,500[2]
Acreage Script error: No such module "convert".[3]
Surface Kentucky Bluegrass (1924–1970, 1988–present)
AstroTurf (1971–1987)
Broke ground August 11, 1922[4]
Opened October 9, 1924
Renovated 2002–2003
Closed January 19, 2002 – September 26, 2003 (renovations)
Construction cost $13 million (original)[3]
($179 million in 2015 dollars)[5]
$632 million (2001–2003 renovation)[6]
Renovations: ($810 million in 2015 dollars[5])
Architect Holabird & Roche
Wood + Zapata, Inc.
Lohan Caprile Goettsch Architects
Project manager Hoffman Associates[7]
Structural engineer Thornton Tomasetti
Services engineer Ellerbe Becket[7]
General contractor Turner/Barton Malow/Kenny[7]
Notre Dame (NCAA) (1929) [8][9]
Chicago Rockets/Hornets (AAFC) (1946–1949)
Chicago Cardinals (NFL) (1959)
UIC Chikas (NCAA) (1966[10]-1973)[11]
Chicago Spurs (NPSL) (1967)
Chicago Bears (NFL) (1971–2001; 2003–present)
Chicago Sting (NASL) (1975–1976)
Chicago Fire (WFL) (1974)
Chicago Winds (WFL) (1975)
Chicago Blitz (USFL) (1983–1984)
Chicago Fire (MLS) (1998–2001, 2003–2005)
Chicago Enforcers (XFL) (2001)
Sculpture of a sailor and his family, gazing eastward, over Lake Michigan
File:Meigs field USGS 2002.jpg
Aerial view from 2002, showing Soldier Field with interior demolished. Meigs Field is to the right in the image.
File:Soldier Field aerial.jpg
Aerial view of the stadium
File:09122009 U2360Chicago.JPG
Configured for U2's 360° Tour, which opened in North America at Soldier Field on September 12–13, 2009
File:President Barack Obama throws a football.jpg
President Barack Obama throws a football at Soldier Field after the NATO summit

Soldier Field is an American football stadium on the Near South Side of Chicago, Illinois, United States. Opened in 1924, it is the oldest NFL stadium, celebrating 90 years of operation. Since 1971 it has been the home of the National Football League's Chicago Bears. With a football capacity of 61,500, it is the third smallest stadium in the NFL. In 2003, the interior underwent extensive renovation.


Origin of name and design model

The field serves as a memorial to American soldiers who have died in wars. It was designed in 1919 and opened on October 9, 1924, as Municipal Grant Park Stadium, changing its name to Soldier Field on November 11, 1925. It was named after winning a contest held by a Chicago newspaper. Edward Mueller was the winner. Originally the name plate was erected "Soldiers" field, but was corrected after Mueller wrote the paper back. Its formal dedication as Soldier Field was on Saturday, November 27, 1926, during the 29th annual playing of the Army–Navy Game.[12] Its design is modeled on the Greco-Roman architectural tradition, with doric columns rising above the entrance.

Early configuration

In its earliest configuration, Soldier Field was capable of seating 74,280 spectators and was in the shape of a U. Additional seating could be added along the interior field, upper promenades and on the large, open field and terrace beyond the north endzone, bringing the seating capacity to over 100,000. The largest crowd for any event at Soldier Field is difficult to determine.

Chicago Bears move in

Soldier Field was used as a site for many sporting events and exhibitions. In September 1971 the Chicago Bears made it their home. They previously played at Wrigley Field, best known as the home of the Chicago Cubs baseball team. They had intended to build a stadium in Arlington Heights. In 1978, the Bears and the Chicago Park District agreed to a 20-year lease and renovation of the stadium. Both parties pooled their resources for the renovation.[13]

Replacement talks

In 1989, Soldier Field's future was in jeopardy after a proposal was created for a "McDome", which was intended to be a domed stadium for the Bears, but was rejected by the Illinois Legislature in 1990. Because of this, Bears president Michael McCaskey considered relocation as a possible factor for a new stadium. The Bears had also purchased options in Hoffman Estates and Aurora. In 1995, McCaskey announced that he and Northwest Indiana developers agreed to construction of an entertainment complex called "Planet Park", which would also include a new stadium. However, the plan was rejected by the Lake County Council, and in 1998, Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley proposed that the Bears share Comiskey Park with the Chicago White Sox.[14]

Renovation and landmark delisting

In 2001, the Chicago Park District, which owns the structure, faced substantial criticism when it announced plans to alter the stadium with a design by architect Benjamin T. Wood of the Boston-based architecture firm Wood and Zapata. Stadium grounds were reconfigured by Chicago-based architecture firm of Lohan Associate, led by architect Dirk Lohan, the grandson of architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. The stadium's interior would be demolished and reconstructed while the exterior would be preserved.

Dozens of articles by writers and columnists attacked the project as an aesthetic, political, and financial nightmare. The project received mixed reviews within the architecture community, including criticism by civic and preservation groups. Prominent American architect and Chicagoan Stanley Tigerman called it "a fiasco".[15] The Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin dubbed it the "Eyesore on the Lake Shore".[16][17][18][19] The renovation was describe by some as "a spaceship landed on the stadium".[20] Lohan responded,

"I would never say that Soldier Field is an architectural landmark. Nobody has copied it; nobody has learned from it. People like it for nostalgic reasons. They remember the games and parades and tractor pulls and veterans' affairs they've seen there over the years. I wouldn't do this if it were the Parthenon. But this isn't the Parthenon."[15]

Proponents argued the renovation was direly needed citing aging and cramped facilities. The New York Times ranked the renovated Soldier Field as one of the five best new buildings of 2003.[21] Soldier Field was given an award in design excellence by the American Institute of Architects in 2004.[22]

Beginning in 1978, the plank seating was replaced by individual seats with backs and armrests. In 1982, a new press box as well as 60 skyboxes were added to the stadium, boosting capacity to 66,030. Fifty-six more skyboxes were added in 1988, increasing capacity to 66,946. Capacity was slightly increased to 66,950 in 1992. By 1994, capacity was slightly reduced to 66,944. During the renovation, seating capacity was reduced to 55,701 by building a grandstand in the open end of the U shape. This moved the field closer to both ends at the expense of seating capacity. The goal of this renovation was to move the fans closer to the field.[12] The front row 50-yard line seats are now only 55 feet away from the sidelines, the shortest distance of all NFL stadiums, until MetLife Stadium opened in 2010, with a distance of 46 feet.[citation needed] Soldier Field received new light emitting diode (LED) video technology from Daktronics. Included in the installation was a video display measuring approximately Script error: No such module "convert". high by Script error: No such module "convert". wide and ribbon displays mounted on the fascia that measured more than Script error: No such module "convert". in length.[23]

On September 23, 2004, as a result of the 2003 renovation, a 10-member federal advisory committee unanimously recommended that Soldier Field be delisted as a National Historic Landmark.[24][25] The recommendation to delist was prepared by Carol Ahlgren, architectural historian at the National Park Service's Midwest Regional Office in Omaha, Nebraska. Ahlgren was quoted in Preservation Online as stating that "if we had let this stand, I believe it would have lowered the standard of National Historic Landmarks throughout the country," and, "If we want to keep the integrity of the program, let alone the landmarks, we really had no other recourse." The stadium lost the Landmark designation on February 17, 2006.[26]

In May 2012, the stadium became the first NFL stadium to achieve LEED status.[27]

Public transportation

The closest Chicago 'L' station to Soldier Field is the Roosevelt station on the Orange, Green and Red lines. The Chicago Transit Authority also operates the #128 Soldier Field Express bus route to the stadium from Ogilvie Transportation Center and Union Station. There are also two Metra stations close by—the Museum Campus/11th Street station on the Metra Electric Line, which also is used by South Shore Line trains, and 18th Street, which is only served by the Metra Electric Line. Pace also provides access from the Northwest, West and Southwest suburbs to the stadium with four express routes from Schaumburg, Lombard, Bolingbrook, Burr Ridge, Palos Heights and Oak Lawn.



Single events

  • The stadium hosted its first football game, on October 4, 1924, between Louisville Male High School and Chicago Austin Community Academy High School. Louisville's team won 26–0. (Chicago Tribune, October 2, 1924)
  • Over 100,000 spectators attended the 1926 Army-Navy Game. It would decide the national championship, as Navy entered undefeated and Army had lost only to Notre Dame. The game lived up to its hype, and even though it ended in a 21–21 tie, Navy was awarded the national championship.[28]
  • The all-time collegiate attendance record of 123,000 plus was established November 26, 1927, as Notre Dame beat the University of Southern California 7–6.[12]
  • Austin defeated Leo to win the 1937 Prep Bowl; another contender for the highest attendance ever (estimated at over 120,000 spectators). The Chicago Prep Bowl games are held at Soldier Field yearly on the day after Thanksgiving. The bowl game is older than the IHSA state championship tournament held since the 1960s.
  • The stadium was host to 41 College All-Star Games, an exhibition between the previous year's NFL champion (or, in its final years, Super Bowl champion) and a team of collegiate all-star players prior to their reporting to their new professional teams training camps. This game was discontinued after the 1976 NFL season. The final game in 1976 was halted in the third quarter when a torrential thunderstorm broke out and play was never resumed.
  • In 2012, Notre Dame hosted a game at Soldier Field against the University of Miami as part of their Shamrock Series.
  • Four NFC Championship Games have been held at the stadium.

NFL playoffs

  • Other Bears playoff games at Soldier Field:

NIU Huskies Football

The NIU Huskies football team plays select games at Soldier Field, all of which have featured the Huskies hosting a team from the Big Ten Conference. The NIU campus is located in DeKalb, Script error: No such module "convert". to the west on Interstate 88.


1994 World Cup

Date Time (CDT) Team #1 Result Team #2 Round Spectators
June 17, 1994 14:00 23x15px Germany 1–0 23x15px Bolivia Group C/Opening Match 63,117
June 21, 1994 15:00 23x15px Germany 1–1 23x15px Spain Group C 63,113
June 26, 1994 11:30 23x15px Greece 0–4 23x15px Bulgaria Group D 63,160
June 27, 1994 15:00 23x15px Bolivia 1–3 23x15px Spain Group C 63,089
July 2, 1994 11:00 23x15px Germany 3–2 23x15px Belgium Round of 16 60,246

1999 Women's World Cup

Date Time (CDT) Team #1 Result Team #2 Round Spectators
June 24, 1999 17.00 23x15px Brazil 2–0 23x15px Italy Group B 65,080
19.00 23x15px United States 7–1 23x15px Nigeria Group A 17,100
June 26, 1999 16.00 23x15px Ghana 0–2 23x15px Sweden Group D 34,256
18.30 23x15px Norway 4-0 Template:Country data JPN Group C 34,256


2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup

Date Team #1 Result Team #2 Round Spectators
21 June 2007 23x15px Canada 1–2 23x15px United States Semi-finals 50,760
23x15px Mexico 1–0 23x15px Guadeloupe
24 June 2007 23x15px United States 2–1 23x15px Mexico Final 60,000

2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup

Date Team #1 Result Team #2 Round Spectators
23 July 2009
  1. REDIRECT Template:Country data Honduras||style="text-align:center;"|1–2||23x15px United States||rowspan=2|Semi-finals||rowspan=2 style="text-align:center;"|55,173
23x15px Costa Rica 1–1 (3-5 pen) 23x15px Mexico

2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup

Date Team #1 Result Team #2 Round Spectators
12 June 2011 23x15px El Salvador 6–1 23x15px Cuba Group A 62,000
23x15px Mexico 4–1 23x15px Costa Rica

2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup

Date Team #1 Result Team #2 Round Spectators
28 July 2013 23x15px United States 1–0 23x15px Panama Final 57,920
File:The Refurbished Soldier Field.jpg
Soldier Field before a soccer match

Minor tournaments

1990 Marlboro Cup

Date Team #1 Result Team #2 Round
May 4, 1990 23x15px Colombia 2-1 23x15px Poland Semi-finals
23x15px Atlas 2-0 23x15px Costa Rica
May 6, 1990 23x15px Poland 2-1 23x15px Costa Rica Third Place Match
23x15px Atlas 0-0 (4-2) 23x15px Colombia Final

1992 U.S. Cup

Date Team #1 Result Team #2 Spectators
June 3, 1992 23x15px United States 1–0 23x15px Portugal 10,402
June 6, 1992 23x15px United States 1–1 23x15px Italy 26,874

1993 U.S. Cup

Date Team #1 Result Team #2 Spectators
June 13, 1993 23x15px United States 3–4 23x15px Germany 53,549

2000 U.S. Cup

Date Team #1 Result Team #2 Spectators
June 13, 1993
  1. REDIRECT Template:Country data Republic of Ireland||style="text-align:center;"|2–2||23x15px Mexico||style="text-align:center;"|36,469

Single events

Special Olympics

The 1st International Special Olympics Summer Games were held at Soldier Field in Chicago on July 19–20, 1968. The games spanned two days and more than 1,000 people with intellectual disabilities from 26 U.S. states and Canada competed in track and field and swimming, sparking a worldwide Special Olympics movement that now thrives today.


The Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Miami RedHawks played a doubleheader on February 17, 2013 with the Wisconsin Badgers and Minnesota Golden Gophers, in the first outdoor hockey game in the history of the stadium.[30]

The Chicago Blackhawks played against the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 1, 2014 as part of the NHL's Stadium Series. The Blackhawks defeated the Penguins 5-1 before a sold-out crowd of 62,921.[31]

Rugby union

The stadium hosted its first international rugby union test match between the United States and New Zealand on November 1, 2014 as part of the 2014 end-of-year rugby union tests.[32] More than half of the 61,500 tickets were sold within two days.[33] The All Blacks thrashed the Eagles 6–74.


Other events

In popular culture


See also


  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Soldier Field
  2. ^ "Soldier Field". January 9, 2012. Retrieved July 24, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Stadium History and Timeline". Official website. Soldier Field. 2010. Retrieved May 21, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Start Work On New Municipal Stadium In Grant Park, Chicago". The Christian Science Monitor. August 16, 1922. 
  5. ^ a b Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  6. ^ Riess, Steven A. (2005). "Soldier Field". The Electronic Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago Historical Society. Retrieved May 21, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c Published October 6, 2003 (October 6, 2003). "After a quick build, showtime in Chicago". SportsBusiness Journal. Retrieved March 10, 2012. 
  8. ^ Hall, Andrew (January 18, 2015). "Report: Annual Blue-Gold Spring Game May Be Moved To Soldier Field". Retrieved January 18, 2015. 
  9. ^ Ford, Liam T.A. Ford (2009). Soldier Field: A Stadium and Its City (1st ed.). Chicago: University Of Chicago Press. p. 91. In 1929 a new stadium was under construction at Notre Dame, and the team played its entire home season at Soldier Field 
  10. ^ Ford, Liam T.A. Ford (2009). Soldier Field: A Stadium and Its City (1st ed.). Chicago: University Of Chicago Press. p. 236. UIC started playing football at Soldier Field in 1966 
  11. ^ Ford, Liam T.A. Ford (2009). Soldier Field: A Stadium and Its City (1st ed.). Chicago: University Of Chicago Press. p. 236. their last home game at Soldier Field, on November 3, 1973 
  12. ^ a b c "Historical timeline of Soldier Field". Chicago Bears. 2009. Retrieved May 21, 2010. 
  13. ^ Lugardo, Sara (2012-12-16). "History of Tailgating in Chicago". WBBM-TV. Retrieved 2012-12-16. 
  14. ^ Taylor, Roy. "Soldier Field History". Retrieved July 24, 2012. 
  15. ^ a b Sharoff, Robert (November 2002). "Field of Pain". Chicago Magazine. 
  16. ^ Kamin, Blair (July 25, 2004). "Why losing Soldier Field's Landmark Status Matters". Chicago Tribune ( Retrieved May 21, 2010. 
  17. ^ Kamin, Blair (April 5, 2001). "Soldier field plan: On further Review, the Play Stinks". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 14, 2012. 
  18. ^ Kamin, Blair (June 11, 2001). "The Monstrosity of the Midway; Mr. Mayor: Stop the Madness and Admit That the Lakefront Is No Place for the Bears". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 14, 2012. 
  19. ^ Kamin, Blair (July 11, 2001). "A tale of Hungry Bears and White Elephants". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 14, 2012. 
  20. ^ Chapman, Steve (September 14, 2003). "A stadium deal that is hard to bear". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 21, 2010. 
  21. ^ Muschamp, Herbert (December 23, 2003). "ARCHITECTURE: THE HIGHS; The Buildings (and Plans) of the Year". The New York Times. Retrieved May 21, 2010. 
  22. ^ Mayer, Larry. "Soldier Field wins prestigious award". Chicago Bears. Retrieved October 7, 2012. 
  23. ^ "Soldier Field". Retrieved 30 November 2014. 
  24. ^ "Soldier Field loses National Historic Landmark status". General Cultural Resources News. eCulturalResources. April 24, 2006. Retrieved May 21, 2010. 
  25. ^ Murray, Jeanne (October 20, 2006). "Leveling the Playing Field". Preservation Magazine. National Trust for Historic Preservation. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  26. ^ "Weekly List of Actions taken on properties: 4/17/06 through 4/21/06". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. April 28, 2006. Retrieved May 21, 2010. 
  27. ^ "Soldier Field earns top building honor". Chicago Bears. May 31, 2012. Retrieved July 24, 2012. 
  28. ^ "1926 Army-Navy Game". Library Archives. United States Naval Academy. November 26, 2001. Retrieved May 21, 2010. [dead link]
  29. ^ Liverpool Hold Off Olympiacos at Soldier Field July 28, 2014 Retrieved July 28, 2014
  30. ^ [1][dead link]
  31. ^ [2][dead link]
  32. ^ "All Blacks: Chicago likely test venue - Sport - NZ Herald News". Retrieved 2014-08-01. 
  33. ^ "More than 30,000 tickets sold for All Blacks matchup at Soldier Field", USA Rugby, June 18, 2014.
  34. ^ "Checkered Flag Waves for NASCAR Legends story - Soldier Field". Retrieved November 30, 2014. 
  35. ^ Higgins, Tom (July 9, 2010). "Chicago's storied Soldier Field was once a NASCAR track". Retrieved March 10, 2012. 
  36. ^ "Throwback Thursday: Chicagoland". NASCAR. September 12, 2013. Retrieved September 12, 2013. 
  37. ^ Cohen, Adam; Taylor, Elizabeth (2000). American Pharaoh: Mayor Richard J. Daley: His Battle for Chicago and the Nation. Boston: Little, Brown. p. [page needed]. ISBN 0-316-83403-3. OCLC 42392137. 
  38. ^ "Soldier Field – Building #84001052". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 1984. Retrieved May 21, 2010. 
  39. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Listings". National Park Service. April 28, 2006. Retrieved July 24, 2012. 
  40. ^ "President Obama throws football at Soldier Field". Chicago Bears. May 21, 2012. Retrieved July 24, 2012. 
  41. ^ Siege #1
  42. ^ Avengers (vol. 4) #1
  43. ^ "Powers of Ten". Film and description. Organisation Européenne pour la Recherche Nucléaire (CERN). June 14, 2011. Retrieved August 11, 2011. The zoom-out continues, to a view of 100 meters (10^2 m), then 1 kilometer (10^3 m), and so on, increasing the perspective. The picnic is revealed to be taking place near Soldier Field on Chicago's waterfront, and continuing to zoom out to a field of view of 10^24 meters, or the size of the observable universe. 
  44. ^ Turan, Kenneth (October 20, 2006). "Movie Review: Flags of Our Fathers". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 21, 2010. 

Further reading

External links