Packers First Home Field Advantage: Old City Stadium
Before the glorious grounds of today’s Lambeau Field, the Green Bay Packers at their humble beginnings played in a variety of borrowed venues before building a professional football home of their own called City Stadium.
With Curly Lambeau at the helm, the Green Bay Packers became an official football franchise in 1919. During the team’s nascent years, they played their home games at Hagemeister Park (the site of East High School) and Bellevue Park.
In 1925, the team began playing in what was called City Stadium, considered an elite football venue for the time. The horseshoe-shaped stadium was made of wood and originally did not have any toilet facilities. It stood behind Green Bay East High School and next to the East River. The Packers used the school for locker room facilities.
Visiting teams often dressed at their hotel before the game rather than use the lockers at East High. The stadium originally seated 6,000. Its capacity would be gradually expanded to 25,000.
The Packers compiled a record of 88-41-7 (.673) at old City Stadium, including NFL championship seasons in 1929, 1930, 1931, 1936, 1939 and 1944. Suddenly minute Green Bay, Wisconsin, was a major dot on the pro football radar.
While its playing surface was consistently praised, by the 1950s, City Stadium was seen as too small and inadequate, even after expansion. According to legend, the leaders of the NFL, including George Halas, informed the Green Bay club owners that they needed to improve their stadium facilities or else the Packers would be moved to Milwaukee or elsewhere, permanently.
The residents of Green Bay responded by voting in 1956 to build a new City Stadium, which opened the following year, as “old” City Stadium became a high school field. The new stadium would be renamed Lambeau Field in 1965 after the death of team founder Curly Lambeau and now has become one of the most revered venues in all of American sports.
Click the video link to hear what folks said about the original City Stadium as the team’s success proved it wasn’t the size of the town, but the size of the team’s spirit and fight.
Scott Schalin is the former Executive Editor of PackersHallofFame.com and is currently writing a book with NFL on FOX insider reporter Jay Glazer.