You may already know Oregon’s stadium and field are both named after Oregon State alums, but did you know there were talks about building a shared stadium for the arch-rivals?? By June of 1952, over $300,000 had been raised to build a new football stadium next to the impressive Gill Coliseum, the future site of Parker Stadium (yes, it’s now Reser for those who go on a walk to check). Old Bell Field was worn out, and the football team–and its fans– desperately needed a new home, so the money was raised to build it, and fans eagerly awaited the new stadium.
A proposal mulled around by the state board of higher education about the possibility of building a joint stadium for the two schools, perhaps in Junction City, halfway between Corvallis and Eugene. On paper, it seemed like a good idea; one facility could house ten or eleven games per year rather than just four or five, potentially saving the state a lot of money. Furthermore, one facility meant half as much maintenance required, and with combined school effort, a builder stadium could hold more fans.
Fortunately for fans of both schools, reason won out, largely because of the students. Collegiate athletics heavily involved the students in various capacities, from student athletes to required attendance by the freshman class. Both teams already had the occasional game in Eugene, but the removal of ALL home-games from proximity from campus would have doomed student participation, especially in an era less prone to the ability for students to travel and sacrifice their studies. These student factors combined with a fear of increased gambling and the problems involved with the $300,000 already earmarked for a Corvallis stadium.
Fundraising figures and information about the board of trustees discussions were taken from “Keep Stadium at Home,” May 28, 1952, The Daily Barometer. The article was a reprint of an earlier article published in the Oregon Emerald.
Article by Benjamin Forgard