American Legion Memorial Stadium

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American Legion Memorial Stadium
Memorial Stadium
American Legion Memorial Stadium.jpg
Location Elizabeth, Charlotte, North Carolina
Owner City of Charlotte
Operator Mecklenburg Park & Rec
Capacity 21,000
24,000 (? - 2009)
16,000 (2009)
17,000 (2010-present)[1]
Surface Natural Grass
Construction
Broke ground January 1934
Opened September 1, 1936
Construction cost ??
Architect ??
Tenants
Central High School (NCHSAA) (1936–1959)
CC-UNC Owls football (1946)[2]
Charlotte Hornets (WFL) (1974–1975)
Carolina Lightnin' (ASL) (1981–1984)
Myers Park High School Mustangs (NCHSAA) (2012)
Charlotte Hounds (MLL) (2012–present)
JCSU Golden Bulls (some games)
Local soccer, football, rugby, and lacrosse championships

American Legion Memorial Stadium is a 21,000-capacity stadium located on 7th Street in the Elizabeth community of Charlotte, North Carolina. It is located on a complex with the Grady Cole Center. Both are located next to Central Piedmont Community College. Independence Park Stadium, a tiny public baseball stadium, is also close by.

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 in 1996, Memorial Stadium was Charlotte's largest outdoor venue, and is still the largest municipal venue in the city.

History[edit]

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.[3]

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.

In 1985, the stadium hosted a preseason USFL game between the Baltimore Stars and Tampa Bay Bandits in February.

From 1937 to 2000, 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. Sometime during the 1960s and 1970s, Memorial Stadium gained upper level seating on both sides of the field, raising its capacity to over 20,000. [4]

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,and hosted Drum Corps International competitions hosted by Carolina Crown.

The stadium also served as a neutral site for the 2002 and 2003 meetings between The Citadel and VMI, known as the Military Classic of the South.[5]

Recent Events[edit]

In late 2009 the east end of the stadium suffered significant damage after a storm drain under the structure caved in causing the stands above it to collapse. While repairs were being made, the stadium was closed for several months. The stadium reopened in July 2010 with a reduced capacity as a grass berm largely replaced the old seating.[6]

Memorial Stadium today serves as the home field for theCharlotte Hounds MLL team. The team began play at the start of the 2012 season and has used the stadium for home games ever since.

The stadium continues to play a large role in Charlotte-Mecklenburg high school football, as it hosts big ticket match-ups such as Butler v. Independence and Charlotte Latin v. Charlotte Country Day. The Myers Park Mustangs moved most of their 2012 home games to the stadium after renovations temporarily lowered capacity at Gus Purcell Stadium, their on-campus home. [7]

In early 2015, the possibility arose of renovating the stadium to accommodate pro soccer in Charlotte and try to lure an MLS expansion franchise to the city, however this was only a proposal. [8] Sometime during 2015, a new press box was constructed on the 'visitors' side of the stadium.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://charmeck.org/mecklenburg/county/ParkandRec/Facilities/EventFacilities/Pages/Memorial%20Stadium.aspx
  2. ^ http://www.charlotte49erfootball.com/our-story.html
  3. ^ http://www.cmhpf.org/Surveys&rmemorialstadium.htm
  4. ^ https://www.charlottehounds.com/stadium-history
  5. ^ "VMI, CITADEL FOOTBALL MOVES TO CHARLOTTE IN THE REGION". Roanoke Times (highbeam.com). February 20, 2002. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  6. ^ http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2010/08/01/1594559/memorial-stadium-ready-to-reopen.html
  7. ^ http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/08/07/3437606/cms-moves-8-football-games-due.html
  8. ^ http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article9257561.html

External links[edit]


Coordinates: 35°13′06″N 80°49′42″W / 35.2182°N 80.8283°W / 35.2182; -80.8283