Worden Field

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Worden Field
A yellow-brown map with the words "Worden Field" in the center
A map of Worden Field, as it appeared in 1924
Full name Worden Field
Location Annapolis, Anne Arundel County, Maryland
Owner United States Naval Academy (USNA)
Operator United States Naval Academy
Surface Grass
Opened c. 1890
Navy Midshipmen football (NCAA)
(c. 1890–1923)
Naval Academy parade and drill exercises (1900s–present)

Worden Field is a large, grass field located within the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. First mentioned in 1890, the field served as the home stadium for the academy's Midshipmen football team from that year until 1924, when it was replaced by Thompson Stadium. Since the early 1900s, the field has hosted all of the academy's various yearly parades and many of its drills. It has progressively grown smaller, due to the addition of buildings and roads within the academy.

The field is bordered on all four sides by small academy roads. On two of its sides, it is surrounded by officers' quarters and is bounded by a parking lot and the Severn River on its other two borders. It has rows of bleachers located along its south side and has long contained a small gazebo on its east side. A small historical marker is located on the southwest corner. It is used regularly for drills and important parades.


A greyscale image of a man in a wool military uniform
The field is named for Admiral John L. Worden, who served as an ironclad commander in the civil war and as the superintendent of the Naval Academy


The field is named for Admiral John Lorimer Worden, who joined the navy in 1834. He was captured by the south at the start of the American Civil War, but was freed in 1862. He became captain of the ironclad USS Monitor and received considerable fame after its battle with the CSS Virginia at the Battle of Hampton Roads. He suffered eye injuries in the battle and gave up his command, instead supervising ship construction for the rest of the war. He served as the superintendent for the Naval Academy for five years, dying in 1897, a few years after the field was named after him.[1][2]

Usage and replacement[edit]

The Navy Midshipmen football team played its first game against the Baltimore Athletic Club in 1879; it ended in a 0–0 tie.[3][4] From that year throughout the 1880s, Navy played all but one of their games at home.[A 1] Writers Taylor Baldwin Kiland and Jamie Howren stated that all of the games played at Annapolis were likely hosted on an unused parade or drill field.[6] During that period, the team amassed a record of thirteen wins, twelve losses, and two ties, including a 6–3 lead over rival Johns Hopkins.[4] Sometime around 1890, Worden Field began operation as the football team's home field. In that year, Navy went 4–1–1 at home, ending its season with a shutout victory of Army in the first annual Army-Navy Game, held at West Point.[6] The following year, the team played its entire seven-game schedule at home, winning the first five games and dropping the final two, including a 32–16 loss to Army.[7][8]

In 1892, coach Ben Crosby led Navy to a 4–2 record in games played on the field. The next year, the team, coached by John A. Hartwell, hosted its entire season on the field, amassing a record of 5–3.[7] The final game of that season, the fourth Army-Navy Game, made national news at the time because of the events which took place. During the game, numerous violent fistfights occurred in the field's stands, and after the contest finished, president Grover Cleveland banned further playing of the competition. It was not reinstated until 1899, at the insisting of Theodore Roosevelt,[9] but the game would not return to Annapolis, except for special reasons in 1942.[10]

Location and facilities[edit]

Worden Field is located on the western side of the Naval Academy, very close to both the Severn River and College Creek. It is bordered on its west and south sides by the school's officer's quarters.[6] A small gazebo is located near the center of the field's east side.[11]


The field is bordered by through roads on all four sides. A small parking lot is located across a road on the field's east edge.[12]


  1. ^ In 1889, the Navy team defeated the Washington All-Stars 24–0 at their home stadium in Washington, D.C.[5]
  1. ^ Royston (2009), p. 215
  2. ^ D'Impiero (2007), p. 160
  3. ^ United States Naval Academy staff (1879). "Navy's First Football Squad". The Team of 1879. United States Naval Academy. Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved April 24, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Naval Academy Athletic Association (2005), p. 154
  5. ^ Staff (2013). "Navy Yearly Results–1885-1889". Yearly Results–Navy Midshipmen. College Football Data Warehouse. 1889: 4-1-1. Retrieved April 24, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c Kiland et al., p 191
  7. ^ a b Staff (2013). "Navy Yearly Results–1890-1894". Yearly Results–Navy Midshipmen. College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved April 24, 2014. 
  8. ^ The New York Times (1891), p. 9
  9. ^ Nesbit, Joanne (September 11, 2000). "Roosevelt May be 'Father of Annual Army-Navy Football Game'". The University Record. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan. 
  10. ^ Roberts (2011), p. 77
  11. ^ United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland (Map) (1924 ed.). Cartography by C.E. Miller. United States Army. Improvements to June 30, 1924. § L31-M33.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  12. ^ Arbuthnot (2012), "Worden Field"