Harvard Stadium

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Harvard Stadium
Soldiers Field
Harvard Stadium Aerial Photo.jpg
Aerial photo of Harvard Stadium
Location 95 N Harvard St
Boston, MA 02134
Owner Harvard University
Operator Harvard University
Capacity 30,323 (current)
57,166 (maximum)
Surface FieldTurf 2006 to present
Grass 1903 to 2005
Broke ground July, 1903
Opened November 14, 1903
Construction cost $310,000
($8.16 million in 2016 dollars[2])
Architect Prof. Louis J. Johnson, Class of 1887
Harvard Crimson football (NCAA) (1903–present)
Boston Patriots (NFL) (1970)
Boston Cannons (MLL) (2007–2014)
Boston Breakers (WPS) (2009–2011)
Boston Breakers (NWSL) (2014)
Boston Brawlers (FXFL) (2014–2015)
Harvard Stadium
Harvard Stadium is located in Massachusetts
Harvard Stadium
Location 60 N. Harvard St., Boston, Massachusetts
Coordinates 42°21′59″N 71°7′38″W / 42.36639°N 71.12722°W / 42.36639; -71.12722Coordinates: 42°21′59″N 71°7′38″W / 42.36639°N 71.12722°W / 42.36639; -71.12722
Area 11 acres (4.5 ha)
Built 1903
Architect McKim,Charles F.; Et al.
Architectural style Classical Revival
NRHP Reference # 87000757[3]
Added to NRHP February 27, 1987

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.[4]

The stadium seats 30,323.[5] 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.


Harvard's stadium was constructed on 31 acres of land known as Soldiers Field, donated to Harvard University by Henry Lee Higginson in 1890 as a memorial to Harvard men who had died in the American Civil War.[6] The structure, similar in shape to the Panathenaic Stadium, the site of the first modern Olympics in 1896, was completed in just 4½ months costing $310,000. Much of the funds raised came from a 25th Reunion gift by Harvard's Class of 1879. It is the home of the football team of Harvard, whose all-time record (at the end of the 2010 season) at the stadium is 427-222-34 (.650). The stadium also hosted the Crimson track and field teams until 1984 and was the home of the Boston Patriots during the 1970 season, until Schaefer Stadium opened the following year. It is also the host of music festivals like the Amandla Festival, where Jamaican reggae legend Bob Marley performed a historic concert in 1979. Janis Joplin performed her last show at the stadium in 1970, shortly before her death. During the 1984 Summer Olympics held in Los Angeles, the stadium hosted several soccer preliminaries.[7] In 2007, the Boston Cannons, a professional lacrosse team for Major League Lacrosse, moved their home site to the stadium. They previously played at Boston University's Nickerson Field.[8]

In 2006, Harvard installed both FieldTurf and lights[9] 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.

Beginning on April 11, 2009, Harvard Stadium became the home field of the Boston Breakers of the Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) league when they beat Saint Louis Athletica 2–0.

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.)

1984 Summer Olympics[edit]

Association football games played at Harvard Stadium during the 1984 Summer Olympics

Date Time (EDT) Team #1 Result Team #2 Round Spectators
July 29, 1984 19.30  Norway 0–0  Chile Group A 25,000
July 30, 1984 19.30  Canada 1–1  Iraq Group B 16,730
July 31, 1984 19.00  Norway 1–2  France Group A 27,832
August 1, 1984 19.00  Cameroon 1–0  Iraq Group B 20,000
August 2, 1984 19.00  Qatar 0-2  Norway Group A 17,529
August 3, 1984 19.00  Cameroon 1-3  Canada Group B 27,261


The stadium in 2009

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.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lisa Kennelly, Extreme Makeover: Harvard Stadium, Harvard Crimson April 13, 2006.
  2. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  3. ^ Staff (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  4. ^ "NRHP nomination for Harvard Stadium". Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  5. ^ Harvard Crimadium
  6. ^ Harvard University (1949). "Memorial Hall". Education, bricks and mortar: Harvard buildings and their contribution to the advancement of learning. p. 82n. 
  7. ^ 1984 Summer Olympics official report. Volume 1. Part 1. pp. 129-31.
  8. ^ Malcom A. Glenn, Improved Stadium Scores Pro Team, Harvard Crimson, February 23, 2007.
  9. ^ http://www.bostoncannons.com/harvardstadium/stadiuminformation/ September 20, 2008.

External links[edit]

Events and tenants
Preceded by
Alumni Stadium
Home of the Boston Patriots
Succeeded by
Foxboro Stadium
Preceded by
Nickerson Field
Home of the Boston Cannons 
Succeeded by