By Jake Trotter
Lot of good stuff here about Husky Stadium from Jim McCall.
Annually voted the most scenic football structure in the nation, Husky Stadium has proven to be a monstrous opponent for visitors hoping to pin a loss on Washington’s gridiron heroes.
Nestled high above Union Bay in Lake Washington, Husky Stadium has several characteristics that make it unique among stadia:
A seating capacity of 72,500 allows Husky Stadium to rank as the nation’s 15th largest on-campus facility. It is the largest stadium, college or professional, in the Pacific Northwest.
With nearly 70 percent of the seats located between the end zones, Husky Stadium can be one of the loudest stadiums in the nation. During the 1992 Nebraska contest, the first night game in Husky Stadium history, ESPN sideline crews measured the crowd noise at 130 decibels.
Tailgating takes on a whole new meaning at Husky Stadium. Boat moorings are available for fans to travel to Washington games via the water. Members of the Husky crew team shuttle fans back-and-forth between their vessels and the docks adjoining the stadium grounds. The north upper deck offers sweeping views of Mt. Rainier, the Olympic Mountain Range and downtown Seattle.
Washington has won 33 of its last 38 games (one tie) in Husky Stadium, including a school record 17-straight home victories. The Huskies have won 70 percent of their home games in the stadium, posting an overall record of 298-126-21. Against the Pac-10, the Huskies have recorded an even more impressive 77-26-2 (.743) record at Husky Stadium.
Built in 1920 at a cost of $600,000, the stadium’s initial capacity was listed at 30,000. The stadium was opened in the dedication game, November 27, 1920, when Dartmouth defeated Washington, 28-7. A student fund drive, in which students and businessmen sold plaques at $50 and $100 levels, provided the capital necessary to get the project off the ground.
Two members of the stadium committee were dispatched east to study an existing report on stadia. Their determination called for a seating capacity of 60,000 and be constructed in two units. One of the key factors in the layout of the stadium was the establishment of the longitudinal axis. The goal was to avoid the glare of the sun in the stadium as much as possible for the benefit of the players.
To accomplish this goal, the astronomical department figured the angle of the rays of the sun at 4 p.m., November 24, 1920. Based on those measurements, the axis of the stadium was approximately set at right angles to the rays which established the axis at 71 degrees 50 minutes west of north. The final components in figuring the stadium location were figuring the best views of the lake and mountains from the interior and working with the existing confines of the land.
Puget Sound Bridge and Dredging Company was contracted to build the structure. The original contract to begin construction was signed May 7, 1920 and called for work to be complete by November 27 for the Dartmouth game a timetable of six months and 20 days. A unique method of excavation know as sluicing, which displaces earth with high pressure water, was used to clear the area. In all, 230,000 cubic yards of earth was moved using 687,000,000 gallons of water. The original crown on the playing field reached a height of 18 inches.
Plans for the stadium called for a four-lane track and the structural drawings called for stands that would allow patrons to view the entire running track without rising or having the view obstructed by the person sitting adjacent to him or her. The study resulted in an elliptical form being adopted.
A sunken passage was built to separate the fans from the field while also providing drainage for the field and facility. Drainage was a major concern of construction since it was calculated that one inch of rain fall on the structural portion of the stadium would accumulate 36,000 gallons of water.
The aisles and seating patterns were planned so that the original capacity crowd of 30,000 could exit the stadium in seven minutes.
The stadium was completed on time despite 46 days of rain during the construction period. Final work was finished 12 hours before kickoff of the inaugural game.
The stadium experienced further growth in 1936 when 10,000 above-grade seats were added around the rim of the structure, upping capacity to 40,000.
In 1950, Husky Stadium was again expanded when roof-covered stands were added to the south side. Approximately 15,000 additional seats, at a cost of $1.7 million, offered excellent viewing between the goal posts.
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