Nestled in a spectacular setting next to the Charles River and with the Boston skyline on the horizon, Harvard Stadium ranks among the nation's finest college football facilities.
Built in 1903, it is also the nation's oldest stadium. Harvard Stadium is a horseshoe containing architectural elements of a Greek stadium and Roman circus and is considered an engineering marvel, as it was the world's first massive reinforced concrete structure and the first large permanent arena for American college athletics. With a seating capacity of 30,898, Harvard Stadium is praised for its outstanding sight-line for fans.
A Gift From the Class of 1879
The Stadium was a 25th anniversary gift of the Class of 1879. However, before it became a reality, people had to be convinced of its feasibility and necessity. Some believed that concrete couldn't survive a New England winter, and others had a notion that football was a passing whim. The Stadium was constructed in four and a half months at the cost of just $310,000.
Prior to the Stadium's opening, Harvard played its home football game at a number of sites. Jarvis Field, where the Littauer Center (home for the government and economic departments) now stands, was the setting for the Crimson's inaugural contest against McGill in 1874, and its first intercollegiate game vs. Tufts in 1875. After several seasons of playing home games at the South End Grounds, Harvard returned to Cambridge in 1881 and played at Holmes Field, now the sight of Langdell Hall. Football, and most of the school's outdoor teams, moved to Soldiers' Field in 1894.
It Changed The Game
The close proximity of the stands to the field at the Stadium led to one of the most successful innovations in football history. In 1906, debate raged about the sport's roughness and several colleges had dropped football in favor of rugby. When the football rules committee met to discuss changes, Walter Camp proposed widening the field by 40 feet. However, that idea could not be implemented without considerable alterations to the Stadium. Ultimately, the committee adopted the forward pass.
More Than Football
In its 99 years, Harvard Stadium has been the site of more than 600 Crimson football games. Track and field, rugby, lacrosse, professional football, and even ice hockey have been played there as well. For two years, the NFL's New England Patriots called Harvard Stadium home. The Stadium also hosted Olympic soccer competition in the summer of 1984, and was the site for the University's 350th anniversary celebration in 1986.
Improvements Still Being Made
The last major renovation of the Stadium took place in 1984, however, in recent years the playing field has been recentered-improving the view for fans seated in the horseshoe end-and new halftime rooms installed.
November 14, 1903, the first permanent concrete stadium of its kind in the country, holds its first game as the Crimson faces Dartmouth.
September 29, 1906, Harvard plays its first game since the introduction of the forward pass and blanks Williams, 7-0. The legalizing of the pass was necessitated by the increasingly brutal nature of football as an effort to open up the game. The complexion of Harvard Stadium, with its stands close to the playing field, forces the football rules committee to adopt the innovation rather than a counter-proposal to widen the field by 40 feet.
Harvard Football--A Timeline of Tradition
When you're talking about Harvard football, you're talking tradition. For over a century, Harvard has been at the forefront of the game's innovations and history. Here is a look at some of the memorable events in Crimson football history:
May 14, 1874--Football is born in Cambridge as Harvard accepts a proposal from McGill University for a two-game series at Jarvis Field. Harvard wins the opener, 3 goals to 0. The schools battle to a 0-0 draw the following afternoon.
June 4, 1875--Harvard plays its first intercollegiate game, facing Tufts. Just as historic is that the Crimson is outfitted in a football uniform, believed to be the first time a team has been so identified. The squad is adorned in the school colors, with a uniform of white shirts and pants, with crimson trimming and crimson hose.
November 13, 1875--Harvard and Yale play for the first time. The Crimson wins this initial meeting, held at Hamilton Field in New Haven, with four goals and four touchdowns to no goals and no touchdowns for the Elis. A group of 150 Harvard faithful make the journey on the evening train from Boston.
October 31, 1881--Harvard plays the first East-West intersectional football game ever as it hosts Michigan at the South End Grounds in Boston. The Crimson takes a bite out of the Wolverines, 4-0, as part of a 6-1-1 season.
January 6, 1885--Believing that the sport had degenerated into "modified mayhem", the Athletic Committee presents a report to the Harvard faculty which bans football from campus that coming fall.
November 3, 1886--Rule changes allow football to return to Harvard in 1886. The Crimson rolls to a 156-0 win over Exeter, its highest single-game total ever. Harvard goes on to establish a national collegiate record for points in a season, amassing 765 during its 12-2 campaign. The record stands to this day.
March 14, 1889--Harvard holds what is believed to be the first-ever spring football practice when team captain Arthur J. Cumnock leads the team in drills on Jarvis Field.
November 22, 1890--Harvard captures its first of seven national championships! The Crimson finishes 11-0 and defeats Yale, 12-6, on the season's final day.
November 30, 1893--William H. Lewis becomes Harvard's first black captain when he is elected for the honor prior to the Pennsylvania game. He replaces B. G. Waters, who was injured a week earlier against Yale. Lewis, enrolled in the Harvard Law School, held a similar post while attending Amherst in 1891. Lewis goes on to be elected to the Cambridge City Council as a Republican in 1899, is elected to the Legislature in 1901, and named Assistant United States Attorney for Boston in 1903. In 1910, Lewis is appointed by President Taft as Assistant Attorney-General of the United States.
November 30, 1893--The first football scoreboard is used. The Harvard Athletic Association unveils this invention of Arthur Irwin, a Bostonian and a professional baseball player and manager, in the Crimson's 26-4 win over Pennsylvania on Thanksgiving Day.
October 1, 1898--An 11-0 win over Williams starts the Crimson on a 32-game unbeaten streak (31-0-1) that continues until the final game of the 1900 campaign. Along the way, Harvard captures national titles in 1898 and 1899.
October 31, 1902--Glenn S. "Pop" Warner, coach of the famed Carlisle Indians, introduces the hidden ball trick against Harvard. The ploy is unleashed during the second half kickoff, and the resulting touchdown moves Carlisle ahead, 11-0. The Crimson delivers the treat, however, winning 12-11.
November 14, 1903--Harvard Stadium, the first permanent concrete stadium of its kind in the country, holds its first game as the Crimson faces Dartmouth.
September 29, 1906--Harvard plays its first game since the introduction of the forward pass and blanks Williams, 7-0. The legalizing of the pass was necessitated by the increasingly brutal nature of football as an effort to open up the game. The complexion of Harvard Stadium, with its stands close to the playing field, forces the football rules committee to adopt the innovation rather than a counter-proposal to widen the field by 40 feet.
November 7, 1908--The legendary Jim Thorpe and his Carlisle squad visit the Stadium. Thorpe is shut down and his squad blanked, 17-0, as part of Harvard's 9-0-1 season.
November 20, 1909--Hamilton Fish, a two-time All-American in an era when only 11 players earned the distinction, completes his career at Harvard. The rugged 6-4, 200-pound tackle graduated cum laude in 1910 and rose to the rank of Major in the Fourth Division Infantry during World War I. From 1920 until 1946, he was elected to the United States' Congress as a representative from New York.
November 18, 1911--Harvard embarks on its school-record 33-game unbeaten streak with a 5-3 win over Dartmouth at The Stadium. The streak covers the entire 1912, 1913, and 1914 seasons and the first four games of 1915. The Crimson went 30-0-3 before Cornell finally put a halt to the streak with a 10-0 win on October 23, 1915.
November 21, 1914--The great career of Charlie Brickley '15 comes to a conclusion with a 36-0 rout of Yale in New Haven. Hampered by an injury for part of the year, Brickley still adds one extra point to the cause. He remains the Crimson's all-time scoring leader with 215 points, including 23 touchdowns.
November 25, 1916--Percy Haughton coaches his final game for the Crimson, as he and his entire staff enterthe service for World War I. As head coach of the Crimson for nine years, Haughton posted an incredible 71-7-5 record. Harvard won three national titles in his tenure (1910, 1912, 1913).
January 1, 1920--Harvard wins the Rose Bowl and its last of seven national crowns. The Crimson finished 9-0-1 and edged Oregon, 7-6, in the Tournament of Roses contest. The game marks Harvard's lone post-season Bowl appearance.
October 31, 1925--Number one defeats number two as Harvard, the oldest college in America, tops William & Mary, the second-oldest, by a 14-7 count at The Stadium.
November 22, 1930--Barry Wood '32 throws a pair of touchdown passes and plays the entire 60 minutes as Harvard finishes the season by blanking Yale, 13-0. In addition to being an All-American quarterback, Wood was a three-year letterwinner in hockey and baseball.
October 30, 1937--Vernon Struck '38, who blossomed in his senior season, sets a school single-game record by rushing for 233 yards in a 34-6 win at Princeton. The mark stood until 1991. He also scored a pair of touchdowns in the win.
November 20, 1943--College football is again depleted because of war, though 45,000 fans turn out at The Stadium to see informal squads from Harvard and Boston College battle to a 6-6 draw. It is the first meeting between the schools in any athletic competition in 24 years.
October 11, 1947--Chester Pierce '48, a standout tackle for the Crimson, becomes the first black to play against a white college in the South when Harvard meets the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
November 22, 1947--Ken O'Donnell makes his final of eight interceptions on the season to set a school record. The mark has only been equaled once, by Cecil Cox in 1985.
October 30, 1948--Hal Moffie's school-record 89-yard punt return for a touchdown helps key a 20-13 Harvard win over Holy Cross at the Stadium.
November 17, 1951--Tom Ossman rushes for five touchdowns, setting a school record in the Crimson's 34-21 win over Brown.
October 11, 1952--Dick Clasby dashes for a 96-yard touchdown in the Crimson's 42-0 victory over Washington University of St. Louis, the longest run from scrimmage in school history.
October 31, 1953--QB Carroll Lowenstein throws for a school-record five touchdowns as Harvard routs visiting Davidson, 42-6.
November 20, 1954--Harvard wins its 500th game by tackling Yale, 13-9, at The Stadium.
October 13, 1956--The Ivy League begins formal play in football as Harvard crushes Cornell, 32-7, in Ithaca. Since the League's inception, Harvard has captured eight League titles and won more than 59 percent of its conference games.
November 7, 1959--A 14-0 win at Princeton clinches the first winning season for head coach John Yovicsin. This begins a string of 10 straight winning years for the Harvard coach.
November 25, 1961--The Crimson earns its first share of an Ivy football championship, finishing 6-1 in the League after topping Yale, 27-0. Columbia also claims a portion of the coveted crown.
October 14, 1967--Place-kicker Tom Wynne opens the scoring against Columbia with a school-record 51-yard field goal. The kick helps inspire the Crimson to a 49-14 victory over the Lions.
November 23, 1968--The fabled 29-29 "win" over Yale enables Harvard to preserve a perfect 8-0-1 season, the school's first undefeated campaign since 1920. Harvard tallies 16 points in the game's final 42 seconds to knot the score.
November 17, 1973--Pat McInally '75 sets a Harvard record with 13 receptions, including a pair of touchdown grabs, in a 35-32 win against Brown. It is Harvard's 600th victory.
November 23, 1974--Milt Holt leads the Crimson on a 95-yard touchdown drive over the game's final five minutes as Harvard surprises Yale, 21-16, to earn a share of the Ivy League title.
November 22, 1975--Harvard wins its first outright Ivy League championship. Junior Mike Lynch '77 boots a 26-yard field goal in the final seconds to deliver the 10-7 victory over Yale at the Bowl.
November 17, 1979--Harvard is the final obstacle to a perfect season for Yale, and spoils the Elis' bid with a 22-7 upset at the Bowl. Yale was allowing just 65 yards on the ground per game, but the Crimson sets the tone early by gaining 64 rushing yards on its first touchdown drive.
September 25, 1982--Don Allard throws for a Harvard-record 358 yards against the University of Massachusetts in the Crimson's season-opening 31-14 win. He completes 18 of 29 passes and connects for two touchdowns. The victory is the start of Harvard's 40-game streak of scoring points, its longest in school history.
November 19, 1983--It's the 100th edition of "The Game" and the Crimson comes out on top, taking a 16-7 win in New Haven to earn a share of the Ivy League title.
November 9, 1985--Harvard erupts for 21 points in a 41 second span late in the fourth quarter to surprise Holy Cross, 28-20, in Worcester.
November 21, 1987--Quarterback Tom Yohe completes his record-breaking season by leading the Crimson to a 14-10 win over Yale and the undisputed Ivy League championship. Yohe set school seasonal marks for attempts (321), completions (158), touchdowns (17), and yards (2,134). Harvard finishes 8-2 overall (6-1 Ivy), the most wins under Joe Restic.
November 4, 1989--Head coach Joe Restic wins his 100th game at Harvard, as the Crimson tops Brown, 27-14, in Providence.
October 13, 1990--A nine-sack effort against Fordham is typical of the Crimson's defensive efforts throughout the year, and helps deliver a 19-13 victory over the Rams. The Harvard defense finishes the fall with a school-record total of 49.
June 22, 1991--Harvard Stadium hosts the first Japanese collegiate football game ever played in the United States. Keio University, coached by the Harvard staff, defeats Yale-led Waseda University, 21-19.
November 9, 1991--Senior fullback Matt Johnson rushes for a school-record 323 yards, breaking the 54-year-old record of Vernon Struck, as Harvard defeats Brown, 35-29.
November 16, 1991--Quarterback Mike Giardi's 8-yard TD run with less than a minute to play gives the Crimson a 22-18 win over Pennsylvania. The score also gives the sophomore a school-record for touchdowns in a season. He will finish finishes the year with 13.
October 2, 1993--Harvard wins its 700th game, defeating Lafayette, 21-17, at the Stadium. With 701 victories in its history, Harvard ranks third among all Division 1-AA schools.
Source: Harvard University Sports Information Office
HARVARD TO BEGIN STADIUM WORK
April 20, 2006
Copyright 2006 MediaVentures
A $5 million upgrade of Harvard Stadium is planned for this summer. The work will include a
new artificial field, improved lights and a fabric covering to allow the stadium to be used in cold weather. The work will be privately funded by alumni.
The synthetic surface, which will replace natural grass, will be easier to maintain and will better withstand the elements, Harvard officials said. The lights will allow for use of the stadium until as late as 11 p.m. The removable bubble, which won't be visible from outside the stadium, will let the baseball and softball teams use the facility during winter months. It will also ease the space crunch caused by intramural leagues.