Harvard Stadium is a U-shaped football stadium in the Allston neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, in the United States. Built in 1903, it was the first collegiate athletic stadium built in the United States, and was a pioneering use of reinforced concrete in the construction of large structures. Because of its early importance in these areas, and its influence on the design of later stadiums, it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987.
The stadium seats 30,323. The stadium seated up to 57,166 in the past, as permanent steel stands (completing a straight-sided oval) were installed in the north end of the stadium in 1929. They were torn down after the 1951 season due to deterioration and reduced attendance. Afterwards, there were smaller temporary steel bleachers across the open end of the stadium until the building of the Murr Center (which is topped by the new scoreboard) in 1998.
In 2006, Harvard installed both FieldTurf and lights allowing it to become the home stadium of the Boston Cannons. On September 22, 2007, Harvard played its first night game at the stadium, against Brown University, winning 24–17.
Lewis Jerome Johnson, Prof. Civil Engineering, Harvard University, was a consultant to the design team for the Harvard Stadium. It is historically significant that this stadium represents the first vertical concrete structure to employ reinforced structural concrete. Prior to the erection of the stadium in 1902, reinforced structural concrete was used in horizontal, that is flooring, sidewalks, etc., design only. Prof. Johnson was the engineer of note responsible for incorporating the concept into the vertical structure of the stadium design. (There is a plaque dedicating the stadium to his honor on the east end wall outside the stadium.)
Although most of Harvard's campus is in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the stadium and most other intercollegiate athletic facilities, along with Harvard Business School, lie across the Charles River in the nearby Allston section of Boston. The stadium is the cornerstone of the Soldiers Field athletic complex, which also includes the baseball stadium, outdoor track, an artificial turf field hockey/lacrosse field, two soccer stadiums, pools, Beren Tennis Center (outdoor), the Gordon Indoor Track, Dillon Fieldhouse, Lavietes Pavilion and Bright Hockey Center. Newell Boathouse, home of Harvard's men's crew, lies across Soldiers Field Road on the banks of the Charles.