Iowa History Daily: On October 8, 1904, Drake Stadium was dedicated in Des Moines. Originally named Haskins Field, the facility served as forerunner to the later Drake Stadium built in 1925 and familiar to Iowans today for the ‘Big Blue Oval’ and as home of the annual Drake Relays and Drake University football.
The original stadium featured a seating capacity of 2,500 and a grass playing surface. Built as a a new home for Drake University football, the first game at the stadium saw the State University of Iowa beat the Bulldogs 17-0. The stadium welcomed large crowds leading to an expansion to a seating capacity of 6,700 in 1907. In 1910, at the behest of the Haskins family, the university renamed the facility Drake Stadium. Also during 1910, the facility hosted the first ever Drake Relays.
Although further renovations expanded seating to 12,000 during the late 1910s, by the early 1920s the university sought to build a larger facility. On October 10, 1925, the new Drake Stadium opened with a Bulldog win over Kansas. During the heyday of Drake football, the Bulldogs captured thirteen conference championships and five bowl game appearances. The new Drake Stadium also served as the home field for Des Moines Roosevelt High School during the early era.
In 1969, a major renovation featured the installation of a new tartan track. Twenty years later, a second resurfacing project brought the Drake school colors to the running surface, inagurating the ‘Big Blue Oval’ known worldwide as a signature feature of the iconic track and field events held in the stadium. In 2005-2005, another major renovation project further added to amenities at the stadium while ensuring the historically significant Iowa sports venue will continue to host world-class events well into the future. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar