Check out these historical notes about the venerable Horseshoe fore Ohio State plays its annual spring football game Saturday.
For nearly a century, Ohio Stadium has stood as a monument to college football.
Since it opened to the Buckeye faithful in 1922, millions of fans have watched team accumulate a 373-104-20 record. Talk about a home-field advantage.
While most visitors focus on the action on the field, there are plenty of stories worth telling about the venue itself. Here are 15 things you might not know about Ohio Stadium, which hosts the Buckeyes’ annual spring football game at noon Saturday.
1. The first game played at the stadium was on Oct. 7, 1922, against Ohio Wesleyan, which the Buckeyes won 5-0.
2. Many celebrities were in attendance for the dedication game against Michigan on Oct. 21, 1922, including President Warren G. Harding, aviation innovator Orville Wright and legendary college football coach John W. Heisman.
3. The stadium, which originally had a capacity to seat 66,210, was built for $1.3 million to replace Ohio Field, located on North High Street, between 17th and Woodruff avenues, before it was torn down.
4. Before the stadium opened, the largest crowd for a game at Ohio Field was 17,000, causing many to doubt the feasibility of such a large stadium. They were quickly proven wrong as fans routinely packed the stadium beyond capacity.
5. Because the south end of the stadium is open, it is nicknamed the Horseshoe, or simply The ’Shoe. Howard Dwight Smith, a civil engineer and Ohio State alum, designed the U-shaped structure, combining attributes of Harvard and Yale’s stadiums, the two largest football venues of the day.
6. It was one of the earliest stadiums constructed of concrete, and many people feared that the structure would collapse. The design required 40,000 cubic yards of concrete and 4,000 tons of steel. The stadium sits on 14½ acres and is 136 feet tall.
7. The original stadium had no restrooms for women, as it was deemed unfashionable for women to attend sporting events during the 1920s.
8. From 1951 to ’73, the Buckeyes led the nation in attendance 21 times, including 14 consecutive years from 1958 to ’71. Since 1949, Ohio State has never been lower than fourth nationally in average home attendance.
9. Due to demand for more seats, Ohio Stadium constructed temporary stands on the south end. The South Stands became a permanent fixture in 2001 after a $194 million renovation. The venue’s current seating capacity of 102,082 makes Ohio Stadium the largest stadium by capacity in the state and the fourth-largest on-campus football stadium in the nation.
10. The largest crowd for a game came on Nov. 26, 2016, when 110,045 watched the Buckeyes beat Michigan 30-27 in double overtime. (Ohio State’s rivals from up north hold the single-game attendance record for a college football game; 115,109 attended the Sept. 7, 2013, matchup between Michigan and Notre Dame.)
11. Artificial turf was installed in 1972, but it was replaced with natural grass in 1990. The Buckeyes currently play on FieldTurf, an artificial turf playing surface with a drainage system that keeps the field playable in wet weather.
12. The Columbus Crew played its home soccer games at Ohio Stadium from 1996 to ’98 before the Columbus Crew Stadium (now Mapfre Stadium) opened in 1999 near the Ohio State Fairgrounds.
13. The stadium has had other uses over the years, including as subsidized dorms for needy students and class laboratories.
14. Major musical acts have held concerts at the site, including Taylor Swift, Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones, U2, Metallica, and Beyonce and Jay-Z. The stadium is host to the Buckeye Country Superfest, which, after a one-year hiatus, will return on June 8 with headliner George Strait.
15. Guided tours are available to the public. Tours start at $100 for groups of 10 or fewer. Visit www.ohiostadiumtours.com for more information.
Sources: www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com, www.ohiohistorycentral.org, www.columbuscrewsc.com, www.library.osu.edu, Dispatch research