William H. Greene Stadium

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William H. Greene Stadium
Greene Stadium.jpg
Former names Howard Stadium
Location 2400 6th Street Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20059
Owner Howard University
Operator Howard University
Capacity 7,086[1]
Surface Sprinturf
Construction
Broke ground 1926
Built October 16, 1926
Tenants
Howard University Bison

William H. Greene Stadium is a 7,086-seat multi-purpose stadium in Washington, D.C., which opened in 1926. It is home to the Howard University Bison football and soccer teams. Originally called Howard Stadium, it was renamed William H. Greene Stadium in 1986 in honor of William H. Greene, M.D., a Washington, D.C. physician.[2]

Where the stadium stands today was formerly a middle-class African American neighborhood which was home to many Howard University faculty and workers.[3] Howard University completed its new Howard Stadium in July 1926.[4] The first football game played there was on October 16, 1926, against Morehouse College.[5] The 2,000-seat Howard Stadium was clearly too small for Howard football games. Howard played most of its games at nearby Griffith Stadium, where crowds of 17,000 to 20,000 people were common from the 1920s into the 1960s. (Griffith Stadium was demolished in 1965.) Afterward, Howard University played most of its home games at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium (also known as RFK Stadium).

By 1977, Howard Stadium had been renovated and expanded to seat 9,000. That year, Howard University officials proposed constructing a 20,000-set stadium to replace the aging facility. Howard University officials admitted that Friday night football games did not draw large crowds, and the university could not get many Saturday afternoon games at RFK Stadium. (The Washington Redskins rented RFK Stadium, and a clause in their contract prohibited the playing of any game in the stadium 24 hours before a Redskins game.)[6] In 1979, Howard University president James E. Cheek announced a plan to build a $14 million stadium and parking garage to replace Howard Stadium. The proposed stadium would seat 20,000. The university said it alread had a design, and blueprints were being drafted.[7] But nothing came of this plan.

A decade later, Howard University officials announced an even more grandiose plan. In 1986, the university said it proposed constructing a 30,000-seat domed stadium. An office building, retail space, and more than 1,200 apartments would be built as part of a "Howard Plaza" project on 20 acres (81,000 m2) of abandoned and dilapidated property next to the campus. The Howard Plaza project had a $150 million price tag. The stadium alone, which was designed to host football and basketball games, would cost $75 million. Although the plan had the support of city officials, critics of the plan noted that Howard's football games only drew about 4,000 to 7,000 attendees. Residents of nearby LeDroit Park also opposed the plan.[8]

Nothing came of the 1986 domed stadium plan. Instead, Howard Stadium was renovated in early 1987, and renamed William H. Greene Stadium.[9] New bleachers were installed, and a new artificial turf surface emplaced.[10]

In 1990, Howard University officials proposed to expand Greene Stadium by 6,000 seats in 1991 season. The plans called for enclosing the north end of the stadium, and moving the scoreboard to the south end. This would provide the stadium with a total of 14,000 seats, enabling the university to sell season tickets because it could guarantee preferential seating.[10]

By 2010, however, Greene Stadium still had not been expanded or renovated.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Howard University 2011 Bison Football." Howard University. 2011. Accessed 2012-10-15.
  2. ^ "William H. Greene Memorial Stadium." Footsteps of Achievement: Historic Kappa Heritage Trail. Humanities Council of Washington, D.C., 2010, p. 12-13. Retrieved October 15, 2012.
  3. ^ Stevens, Joann (September 27, 1979) "New Howard Deans Aim to Help Restore Campus Glory." Washington Post.; Robinson III, Harry G. (February 20, 1986) "City Voices; Growing Up at - and With - Howard University." Washington Post.
  4. ^ "Howard Resents Report Stadium Is Fire Menace." Washington Post July 28, 1926.
  5. ^ "Morehouse Opposes Howard Here Today." Washington Post October 16, 1926.
  6. ^ "Howard Hopes to Build Stadium." Washington Post June 11, 1977.
  7. ^ Asher, Mark (January 26, 1979) "Keith Receives 5-Year Contract; Howard Unveils Stadium Plans." Washington Post.
  8. ^ Gaines-Carter, Patrice (April 3, 1986) "Howard Plans NW Stadium, Office Project." Washington Post.
  9. ^ Huff, Donald (April 11, 1987) "Baptiste Will Run At Howard." Washington Post.
  10. ^ a b Greenberger, Neil H (September 29, 1990) "Howard Football Eyes Bigger, Better." Washington Post.
  11. ^ Davidson, Diandra (April 19, 2010) Howard Falls Behind in Construction Projects The Hilltop. Retrieved October 15, 2012.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°55′32″N 77°01′15″W / 38.9255°N 77.0208°W / 38.9255; -77.0208