90 Years Ago in the Diamondback: Breaking Ground on the Original Byrd Stadium

90 years ago today, The Diamondback reported that construction had finally begun on the school’s first football stadium (first championed by then-coach “Curley” Byrd in 1915). The stadium was originally to be called the University of Maryland Athletic Field, but after students protested the boring name, the Board of Regeants chose the name “Byrd Stadium.”

New stadium, now being erected

The plans for the building indicated a “very artistic appearance” which would “add materially to the beauty of the campus.” The stadium, located on the east side of Washington and Baltimore pike, was to be built of reinforced concrete with brick facing on the road, and would “embody all of the modern principles in present-day stadium construction,” including “up-to-date dressing rooms” with lockers, showers, and rubbing tables. Previously, the team’s lack of dressing rooms meant the athletes had to endure a long, uphill walk after each game, so the new facilities were a much-welcomed improvement. Furthermore, the stadium would seat several thousand spectators, which, the paper reported was “ample space to accommodate any demand that may be placed upon it at the present time.”

Byrd Stadium, 1924-1925 Yearbook
Photo of the completed Byrd Statium in the 1924-1925 Reveille Yearbook

Construction on the stadium was completed by fall of 1923, and the first football game was played there on September 29, 1923. The stadium remained the football team’s home for a quarter of a century, but eventually the program did outgrow the stadium’s once “ample space.” The new (and current) Byrd Stadium, with an initial capacity of nearly 35,000 (since raised to 54,000 through expansions) opened on September 30, 1950, and the once state-of-the-art original Bryd Stadium was razed in 1953; the location where it once stood is now home to fraternity row.

(Additional information in this post from the Wikipedia articles on “Old Byrd Stadium” and “Byrd Stadium.”)

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2 thoughts on “90 Years Ago in the Diamondback: Breaking Ground on the Original Byrd Stadium

  1. The growth of the football program in the 1930s and ’40s led university officials to occasionally schedule some of the bigger games at Griffith Stadium in Washington, home of the Senators and Redskins.

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