American Legion Memorial Stadium
|Former names||American Legion Memorial Stadium (1936-present)|
|Location||Elizabeth, Charlotte, North Carolina|
|Owner||City of Charlotte|
|Operator||Mecklenburg Park & Rec|
24,000 (? - 2009)
|Broke ground||January 1934|
|Opened||September 1, 1936|
|Central High School 1936–1959
CC UNC football 1946
Charlotte Hornets (WFL) 1974–1975
Carolina Lightnin' (ASL) 1981–1984
Charlotte Hounds (MLL) 2012–present
Charlotte Independence (USL Pro) 2015–present
American Legion Memorial Stadium is a 21,000-capacity stadium located on 7th Street in the Elizabeth community of Charlotte, North Carolina. Memorial Stadium is mainly used for high school sporting events and also serves as a public venue. Prior to the construction of nearby Bank of America Stadium, Memorial Stadium was Charlotte's largest outdoor venue, and is still the largest municipal venue in the city.
Ground was broken on the stadium in 1934 and the gates were officially opened two years later in 1936. Named in honor of local soldiers who fell in World War I, the stadium was a project of the Works Progress Administration.
Throughout the years the stadium has hosted events of every kind, ranging from Presidential addresses to classic professional wrestling encounters featuring local hero Ric Flair. The stadium formerly hosted Charlotte (Central) High School (which is now Garinger). For many years afterward, as the city grew and opened more high schools, the stadium was used practically every week during the football season to accommodate both schools which had no campus stadium and large crowds which some campus stadiums could not contain for the more popular match-ups. The stadium continues to play a large role in Charlotte-Mecklenburg high school football to this day as it hosts big ticket match-ups such as Butler v. Independence and Charlotte Latin v. Charlotte Country Day.
For the past few years the stadium has hosted several band competitions. It has hosted the battle of the Bands between the biggest HBCUs in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia. It has also hosted Drum Corps International competitions hosted by Carolina Crown.
For several years (until the mid-1990s) the stadium annually hosted the Shrine Bowl which was a match-up of the top high school football players in North Carolina and South Carolina.
In late 2009 the east end of the stadium suffered significant damage after a storm drain under the structure caved in causing the stand to collapse. The stadium was closed for several months while repairs were made, in July 2010 the stadium was reopened with a reduced capacity as a grass berm largely replaced the old seating.
Memorial Stadium serves as the home field for the Charlotte MLL team. The Charlotte Hounds began play at the start of the 2012 season. Soccer comes to the stadium when the Charlotte Independence of the USL Pro starts play in 2015.
- "VMI, CITADEL FOOTBALL MOVES TO CHARLOTTE IN THE REGION". Roanoke Times (highbeam.com). February 20, 2002. Retrieved 2012-08-19.
- Survey and Research Report on The American Legion Memorial Stadium (1936) – Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission.
- Memorial Stadium and Grady Cole Center at Google Maps
- Memorial Stadium Anniversary