The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, November 24, 1909, Image 1

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In the hiBtory of athletics In the
University of Nebraska there have
been but two athletic fields: the pres
ent field and the old Nebraska field,
which was located on the part of the
campuB now covered by the mechani
cal engineering laboratories.
The last remainder of this old field
was destroyed only a few weeks ago,
when that portion of the old grand
stand which was located on the west
sido of the original athletic field was
torn down. For tho past year this
undestroyed portion of tho grand stand
has been left standing in its original
position. It there served the double
purpose of romlnding tho freshmen of
tho once famous Nebraska field, and of
bringing back to tho mind of the visit
ing alumnus the scenes of his college
days when ho sat huddled in his over
coat on a bleak and chilly Thanks
giving day waiting to bo aroused from
his comfort by some sensational de
velopment f6r tho betterment of tho
Scarlet and Cream team battling be
foro his eyes to uphold tho honfcr and
reputation of the dear old U. of N.
First Used for Drill.
Tho old Nebraska field which lay
at the northwest corner of tho univer
sity campus over since tho first days
of athletics in the university was not
always an athletic field. Wlhen tho
course in military science was estab-
very long a now lino of activities in
the athletic department began to slow
ly develop. This was football. Tho
sport hnd becomo to bo one of the
dominant parts of athletics in tho ma
jority of tho western colleges nnd uni
versities and It was only a matter of
time until it would bo tho dominant
sport of tho University of Nebraska.
Time passed Blowly for tho mombors
of the rooting body of tho students bo-
"oro tho .team that represented the
Scarlet and Cream began to make' Its
mark as a factor in wostorn football.
The cand'datcs for positions on tho
early football teams of tho university
were handicapped to a large extent
as they hnd no good place to play.
The only placo that was In a suitable
condition for them to prnctico on was
tho old drill ground and baseball lot.
But In using this placo ns an athletic
field tho coaches and players woro
again handicapped. The field was cov
ered with a growth of trees on tho
north Fide and It was necessary for
these to bo removed boforo tho field
would be largo enough for tho team to
hold games or oven have a largo
enough gridiron for practice.
The members of tho team decided
that these trees must bo removed and
hero they mot another obstacle. This
was In tho shape of the university au
thorities. The authorities of the Bchool
Tho confusion of tho studonts can
be easily Imagined and their haBto to
Increaso tho distance botweon thorn
selves nnd tho campus was ludlcrlous.
Owing to theso attompts of tho stu
dents in this way and othors tho of
fending trees woro gradually romoved
and tho Nebraska field was a suroty
Bleachers Next.
After the field had boon cleared
there was another difficulty which
arose. TIiIb obstaclo was tho nocd of
tho equipment of tho athletic flold
with MeachorB and a grandstand.
When games woro played on tho home
field tho crowds would lino up along
tho sido HncB and when tho play was
at tho end 6f tho gridiron tho peoplo
would fill In tho opposlto end of tho
field and when a punt was mado undor
such circumstances tho crowd would
bo sent scurrying to tho side linos
again to bo out of tho way of the
players and tho ball. This difficulty
became so serious with tho Increaso- of
interost In football that It was neces
sary for tho management to provido
somo sort of scats for tho spectators
Bloachers woro accordingly built on
tho east sido of tho field. Lator tho
grandstand was built, but only In por
tions as the- Increaso in tho nttondancc
necessitated Kb oroctlon. Tho first big
outsldo game which was played on tho
homo field was the gamo with Minno-
history of univorslty jithlotlcs aB tho
most flercoly contostod battloB ovor
fought by tho wearorB of tho Scarlot
and Cronm.
Again tho needs of tho univorslty
for more room woro soon and again
tho nthlotlc flold had to pay tho ponal
ty of tho growing need for moro room.
This tlmo, In tho Bprlng of 1D08, whon
tho plans for tho mechanical onglnoor
lug laboratories woro complotod, it
was decided to locato tho now building
on tho romaindor of Nobraska Flold.
This plan loft tho university without
an nthlotlc flold of any Bort. PlanB
of nil tort woro coiiBidorod and It was
finally decided by tho athletic board
that tho action of tho noxt legislature
In rogard to tho appropriations for tho
univorslty would Bottlo tho mnttor of
a now nthlotlc flold for tho univorslty.
While tho notion of tho legislature
was awaited the mombors of tho foot
ball squad woro without a placo to
practice. Arrangements woro mndo
with tho WoBtorn Loaguo officials of
Lincoln to uso tho baseball park for
tho fall of 1908. Horo tho mombors of
tho football squad woro forced to prac-
tlco daily thoroby spondlng much valu
ablo tlmo riding to and from tho park
on tho slrcot cars. Tho valuo of tho
tlmo Bpont in tills way nnd tho
othor dlendvantagcB was soon real
ized and oxtrn offorts woro mado to
Tho loss of tho old Nobraska Flold
has had an offoct on tho university,
that will long bo romomborcd. Thot
gront financial loss by having no ath
letic flold has boon ono sevoro lesson
to tho university nthlotlc management,
and another offect has beon tho lack of
real student spirit folt to a high do
greo whon tho flold near tho Antolopb
was usod. Tho mombors of tho Btu
dent body found it difficult and ox
ponBivo to attond tho games whon thoy
were plnyod at such a dlstanco from
tho university. TIiub tho pooplo who
attondod theso gamoB woro not tho
ones who rooted, tho attondanco Do
ing, ns a rule mado up to a groat do
greo of Lincoln citizens. Tho lack of
offectlvo rooting was felt by tho
membors of tho toams both In basobalf
nnd football, and. to win games theso
teams must fool that tho Btudont body.
Is back of thorn holding thorn up and
giving thorn tho proper support.
Though tho first Nobraska Field hatf
passod Into history thoro still remains
tho many romombrancos of tho days
whon tho boyB plowod up tho Minneso
ta or Kansas linos and carried tho ball,
across their lines for touchdowns'.'
Porhnps tho most memorial gamo thai'
was ovor played on tho old flold was,
tho gnmo in tho fall of 1007 whon tho
Ames Aggies camo to Lincoln fully
confldont that thoy had tho Corn
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Hshed in tho university this northwest
corner was tho most convenient ono
for tho cadets to use as a drill ground.
Long before the days of tho "pig skin"
and tho "horsohido" tho tramp, tramp
of tho cadets was heard on tho ground
which was to become tho historic bat
tlefield of tho Scarlot and Cream.
Many and many times have Injuries to
tho football men beon caused by tho
hardness of tho flold, which was orig
inally packod by tho feet of tho cadots
as they marched back and forth on tho
old drill ground.
But this portion of tho campus was
not to remain a drill ground. With
tho Inauguration of athletics In tho
univorslty a sultablo placo for practice
must bo found. BnBOball was tho first
real branch of athletics which was
taken up as a part of of tho outdoor
sports of tho school. To develop a
team of first class quality a placo to
practice waB necessary. There being
only ono suitable placo on tho campus
for this purpose, thq vacant part at
tho northwest corner was chosen.
Thus thoro arose a rivalry between
tho possessors of this lot as to tho
right of ownership tho cadots or tho
baseball men. This difficulty was fin
ally solved and tho baseball men wero
allowed to uso tho field at all hours
that tho members of tho cadet battal
ion, wero not engaged In their dally
Football Begins.
Boforo baseball had beon In voguo
and several of tho faculty mombors be
lieved that the beauty of the trees and
their use as an added attractiveness
to tho university was too great to
sacrifice for tho good of an increased
athletic field. But by diverse means
tho trees wore romoved, tho field
leveled off, and tho university was
then oqulpped with a full sized grid
Iron and athletic flold.
Means of Removing Trees.
Various plans woro used to remove
these trees off tho gridiron by tho
supporters of tho team. Tho favorlto
method used by tho studonts was to
Bncak up on tho campus, evade tho
night-watchman and quietly saw a tree
down and then drag it off tho campus,
rejoicing that ono moro stop had beon
taken In tho development of a grid
Iron. Qno night tradition tolls that sever
al of tho members of tho "gridiron
enlarging society" camo up to tho
campus and sneaked to the tree cov
ered part of tho gridiron. Qulotly they
began to saw down ono of tho most
beautiful of tho tres. Tho night
watchman was lying on ono ot, tho
benches near by and observed tho
boys as thoy began their depredations
on tho offending trees. Being a friend
of tljo students and not -wishing to ar
rest them tho watchmen turned over
and said:
"Faith, byes, Ol'm goln' to wake up
In about folve minutes, and suro you'd
bettor not be horo."
sota in 1000. Many games had of
course been played on Nebraska Field,
but none of which aroused tho Inter
est of football enthusiasts as did tho
gamo with tho Gophers In that year.
Tho seat salo was enormous and It
was seen by tho management that
thoro was enough seats to only accom
modate a respectable majority of thoso
who would attond tho gamo. Accord
ingly a largo number of shingles woro
ordered from ono of tho local lumber
yards and there wero piled on tho
ground In a largo pile arranged with
the bundles of shingles forming stops
so that a fairly respectablo ampl-tho-ater
was thus formed. On this tho
largo crowd was given seats as far as
Field Cut Down.
Tho good athletic field which tho
university now possessed was not long
to bo a reality. Tho need of thq uni
versity for a physics laboratory was
folt to bo moro needed than an ath
letic field, for when tho plans for tho
new Braco laboratory wero completed
It was learned that it would bo located
on the southern end of tho athletic
field. The pleadings of tho students
were In vain and tho new building was
constructed there Binco thero was no
other location for It on" tho campus.
This cut down tho extent of Nobraska
Field to a considerable degree, but It
did not destroy the gridiron and a
number of tho games played on this
shortened field have gone down In tho
influonco tho mombors of tho legisla
ture to do all thoy could to provido
funds for tho purchaso of ground near
tho university.
Whon tho appropriations for the uni
versity woro mado enough money was
provided to eaablo tho regents to start
condemnation proceedings and tho
block Just north of tho old Nobraska
Flold was purchased. Lator tho two
lots of tho adjoining block to tho oast
woro condemned and purchased by
Lincoln citizens who hold them in trust
subject to salo to tho university. A
great doal of tlmo was spont this sum
mer in moving and razing tho build
ings on this property and finally tho
land was cleared and tho spaco for
tho now athletic flold was clear.
Immediately after tho buildings had
been moved off tho location of tho now
flold, tho work of filling In tho old col
lars and other holes on the ground
and levelling pff tho surface was com
menced. This work having been com
pleted, tho noxt problem was for tho
erection of grandstands and bleachers.
The plans for tho erection of a gate
way and other buildings wero drawn
and theso woro accoptod by' tho mem
bers of the athletic board. The plan
then was to have tho field completed
JWSQ first gamo on October 23, of
thlaiyear. On this dato tho Cornhusk
ers met tho boavy-Hawkoyo team and
held them to a 6 to 6 score and tho his
tory of tho Wttlos on the now Nebras
ka Field had commenced.
huskora boaton boforo tho gamo start
ed. This gamo Is ono that will long
bo romomborcd. With weather con
ditions Ideal for a fast gamo tho two
teams met. Back nnd forth thoy
fought until Ames scored a touchdown.
but failed to kick coal. NnhrnnVn
was shortly aided by an Ames player
making a fatal mistake and placing
tho ball bohlnd his own goal lino for
a safety which gave tho Cornhuskors
two points. Amos retaliated for this
mlstako by scoring a field goal and
making tho score 9 to 2.
Tho fierceness with which tho No
braska men camo back at tho Aggies
can novor bo forgotten. Tho reliable
too of Captain John W-ellor soon sent '
tho oval across tho bar for four moro
points for Nobraska, making It 9 to 6
for tho Agglos. Still tho fight contin
ued and back and forth tho teams
worked until thero woro only a few
moro minutes to play and tho Nebras
ka men lined up for a place kick. Tho
angle was a difficult ono to make and
every spectator held his breath. Thei
ball was snapped and -when the sure
too of the reliable Captain John hit the?
pig skin It sailed ovor tho bar for tba
needed four points to win. l I
The old field and Its ' memories ar
now history and the student oily as
a whole are waiting for tho answer;
that Nebraska and hor football team
will make on the New Nobraska Field
the list of victories' to bo won and fee
standards to be maintained. ' !
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