Thursday Evening Follies with Bleachers

Some of you may have noticed that I had an unexcused absence yesterday. So, I had a late afternoon meeting followed by a dinner, which included what we’re going to call “more than one glass of wine.” I have enough trouble keeping my mouth shut when I’m sober so I decided that the best course might be to just go to bed. This was no doubt the wise choice, although surely the less entertaining one. I might choose differently next time.

Happily, yesterday’s meeting was up on the 10th floor of the BRC so I got some fabulous pictures of the campus. What held my attention was the vacant space where the track stadium stands stood until just recently:

L1030665

I wrote about these stands before the demolition began but since then I’ve had reason to investigate their exact origin and have frankly spent a preposterous amount of time trying to figure that out. It turned out to be tricky.  I’ll start with a photo from 1926 where you can see a corner of the stands that were there before, which themselves replaced the earliest wooden bleachers:

Old stadium north stands 1926 046

Note the line of little oak saplings to the right of the bleachers. These are those big trees that are there today.

My assumption was that these were replaced when the big stadium addition was built in 1937, which I wrote about here. There are a series of photos taken by Maxwell Reade, a mathematics fellow in the late 1930s, from the south stands looking towards the north  that clearly show the stands that were just torn down. But . . . I realized that something was amiss. Here are a couple:

Reade stadium late 30s

Fun fact: This game was the occasion of the longest fumble recovery for a touchdown in LSU history–100 yards.

Reade stadium late 1930s

The problem is that they were taken during the 1937 season, just before the new addition was built.

Hmmm.

So I did the only thing I know–just started looking anywhere I could think of that might possibly hold the answer. After quite a while the answer finally turned up. It’s tempting to say it was lucky but I’m not sure if it’s luck or not. In any event, here’s the answer, neatly tied up and explained in one newspaper article from April, 1935:

Old stadium north stands April 1935045

So here’s what happened. The old wooden stands on the north side were torn down and steel ones were built in the summer of 1935. (No wonder they needed to be replaced!) Attendance continued to climb and after the 1937 season ended the south stands were also torn down and replaced with a much larger structure and at the same time bleachers were added around the curve of the west side to meet the north stands:

Stadium old drawing 1937

Bonus:

L1030653

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3 Responses to Thursday Evening Follies with Bleachers

  1. travis says:

    The old field house was way better in terms of its design and fitting into the Neo Byzantian aesthetic.

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