World War I Memorial Stadium
World War I Memorial Stadium.jpg
Former namesMemorial Stadium
LocationManhattan, Kansas
OwnerKansas State
OperatorKansas State
Capacity17,500 (former)
SurfaceFieldTurf
Construction
Opened1922
Construction cost$500,000 USD
Tenants
Kansas State Wildcats (field lacrosse, rugby union, soccer)

World War I Memorial Stadium (previously Memorial Stadium) [1] is a stadium in Manhattan, Kansas, United States. From its opening in 1922 until 1967 it was the home field of the Kansas State Wildcats football team, prior to the opening of Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. It was also used by Kansas State University for track and field.

Stadium history

The stadium was built and named in tribute to Kansas State students who died in World War I. The west stands were built in 1922, and the stands on the east side of the stadium were completed two years later. Its general seating capacity was 17,500 people when completed, although attendance sometimes exceeded 20,000. The stadium was built at the location of Ahearn Field, and as late as 1938 the field was still known as Ahearn Field at Memorial Stadium.[2]

The original plans for the stadium included an enclosed bowl, but the final phase of the stadium was never built.

In 2015–16, both sides of the stadium were renovated, with much of the seating bowl converted to gardens. The stadium was officially re-dedicated as "World War I Memorial Stadium" on April 21, 2017.[3]

Football history

Memorial Stadium, 1924
Memorial Stadium, 1924

The first game held at the stadium was on October 6, 1922, when only the west wing of the stadium was complete.[4] Kansas State defeated Washburn University in that initial contest 47–0.[5]

The east wing of the stadium opened for the 1924 season. Four years later in 1928, a two-story wooden press-box was added to the east wing. The upper level was for press, while the lower level featured boxes for distinguished alumni and guests.[4]

A pre-World War II record crowd of 17,545 attended the Wildcats' game against #6 Oklahoma on November 11, 1939.[6] Kansas State lost the game 13–10.[5] After the war there were a handful of games where attendance exceeded 20,000, including a crowd of 23,822 to watch #18 Kansas State play #9 Oklahoma in 1953.

The first night college football game at Memorial Stadium was played on September 20, 1947. Oklahoma A&M defeated Kansas State by a score of 12–0.[5]

Stadium today

Exterior of stadium, 2017
Exterior of stadium, 2017

Athletic events

The stadium is still used for athletics. In 2002 the grass field was replaced with FieldTurf and the cinder track was replaced with a rubberized surface. The playing field is now painted for use by the school's club MCLA lacrosse team, soccer team, and is also used as the home pitch for the Rugby team, as well as the marching band's practice field.

Other uses

In addition to the stadium's use for athletics, the areas underneath the stadium's seats are utilized for university offices and academic purposes. The East Stadium now houses the newly renovated Berney Family Welcome Center, while the West Stadium houses a newly built Purple Masque Theater.

Seating bowl at stadium, prior to installation of gardens
Seating bowl at stadium, prior to installation of gardens

Through the years, occasional concerts and band competitions have been held in the stadium.

Nick the ghost

There is a campus legend that the Purple Masque Theater is haunted by a ghost named "Nick", allegedly the spirit of a football player who died in the 1950s. Stories are told of boxes and chairs being shuffled, noises heard, and a fire extinguisher being expelled.[7] No player named Nick is recorded to have died at the stadium, but there are stories of deaths of players with other names that may have fed into the legend.[8]

References

  1. ^ Bauman, Brady (2017-04-21). "KSU students lost in WWI honored with Memorial Stadium ceremony - News Radio KMAN". 1350kman.com. Retrieved 2017-04-28.
  2. ^ Miller, Luman, ed. (1938). Royal Purple. Kansas State. pp. 22–23, 30.
  3. ^ Kyler Langvardt. "Memorial Stadium dedicated to 48 fallen WWI K-State student soldiers | The Collegian". Kstatecollegian.com. Retrieved 2017-04-28.
  4. ^ a b Willard, Julius (1940). History of Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Science. Kansas State College Press. p. 419. Archived from the original on July 20, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c "Game-by-Game Results for Kansas State". James Howell. Archived from the original on 2012-09-12. Retrieved 2012-10-08.
  6. ^ Fitzgerald, Tim (2001). Wildcat Gridiron Guide: Past & Present Stories About K-State Football. ISBN 0-9703458-0-1.
  7. ^ Ghosts of Kansas State University
  8. ^ CatZone Virtual Stadium Archived 2006-07-15 at archive.today

Coordinates: 39°11′15″N 96°35′03.6″W / 39.18750°N 96.584333°W / 39.18750; -96.584333