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Experience the Park Ohio Stadium Fan Guide
The House that Harley Built
It may not have the renown of the moniker applied to Yankee Stadium, but Charles ‘Chic’ Harley had no less influence on the construction of the Horseshoe than Babe Ruth had on that building in the Bronx. An All-American in 1916, ’17, and ’19 (he took 1918 off to serve in the military), the running back put the Ohio State football program on the map. Crowds packed Ohio Field to see Harley play, convincing the OSU Board of Trustees of the need for a new, larger stadium. The $1.3 million needed for construction came almost entirely from private donors, and architect Howard Dwight Smith designed a horseshoe-shaped stadium of two decks that would seat 66,000.
Some in the Ohio State community argued the building wouldn’t be consistently filled, and their concerns seemed justified when only about 25,000 fans saw the opening game on Oct. 7, 1922 against Ohio Wesleyan. However, the dedication game two weeks later against Michigan drew a crowd of 72,500. Ohio State led the nation in average attendance 20 seasons and has been in the top-four every year since 1949. The stadium, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, used to include dorm rooms and to this day holds office space for some OSU academic departments.
The recent renovation, completed for the start of the 2001 season, cost $194 million and was responsible for many changes. The scoreboard and press box were expanded, and additional seating was added when the track was removed and the field lowered 14 feet. Also, the concrete structure of the stadium was reinforced by a new outer shell, which added seating to the top of C Deck, and 81 Hospitality Suites were created.