Soldier Field serves as a memorial to American soldiers who had died in past wars, hence its name. It was designed in 1919 and completed in the 1920's. It officially opened on October 9, 1924, the 53rd anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, as Municipal Grant Park Stadium, changing its name to Soldier Field on November 11, 1925. Its formal dedication as Soldier Field was on Saturday, November 27, 1926, during the 29th annual playing of the Army vs Navy game. Its design is modeled on the Greco-Roman architectural tradition, with these doric columns which rose above the original stands. However, after being renovated, the new stands now dwarf the columns, as seen above.
Reaction to the renovation was mixed. The New York Times ranked the facility as one of the five best new buildings of 2003, while the Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin dubbed it the "Eyesore on the Lake Shore."
On September 23, 2004, as a result of the 2003 renovation, a 10-member federal advisory committee unanimously recommended that Soldier Field be delisted as a National Historic Landmark. The recommendation to delist was prepared by Carol Ahlgren, architectural historian at the National Park Service's Midwest Regional Office in Omaha, Nebraska. Ahlgren was quoted in Preservation Online as stating that "if we had let this stand, I believe it would have lowered the standard of National Historic Landmarks throughout the country," and, "If we want to keep the integrity of the program, let alone the landmarks, we really had no other recourse." The stadium lost the landmark designation on February 17, 2006, primarily due to the extent of the renovations.
Photo captured June 8, 2011.
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