Palmer Stadium

Palmer Stadium was given by Edgar Palmer '03 as a memorial to his father, Stephen S. Palmer, a trustee of the University from 1908 to 1913 and the donor of Palmer Hall.

Designed by Henry J. Hardenbergh, the stadium was completed in 1914, the same year as the Yale Bowl. Yale diminished Princeton's enjoyment of the Palmer Stadium dedication on November 14 by winning the annual football game, 19 to 14; but Harvard took even more away from Yale's pleasure at the dedication of the Bowl a week later with a 36 to 0 triumph that led one sportswriter to observe: ``Yale had the bowl, hut Harvard supplied the punch.''

Like Harvard's stadium, which was built in 1903, Princeton's followed the U-shape of the ancient Greek stadium, while the Yale Bowl was modeled on the elliptical design characteristic of the Roman colosseum and the amphitheater at Pompeii. The completely enclosed Yale Bowl had no facilities for track meets. The open end in the Harvard and Princeton stadiums, which reduced the number of seats available for football games, made possible the 220-yard straightaway essential for track meets.

Palmer Stadium is slightly longer and a good deal wider than the standard ancient Greek stadium, which was used only for track and got its name from the Greek word for the distance of its most common race, the stade, which was approximately an eighth of a Roman mile, or a little shorter than our 220-yard dash.

Palmer Stadium's capacity is 42,000, which has sometimes been stretched to 52,000 by the erection of wooden stands at the open end.

A new all-weather-surface track was constructed in Palmer Stadium in 1978. It was named the Erdman-McGraw Track in honor of Charles R. Erdman '19, track captain in 1919 and 1920, and Curtis W. McGraw '19, football captain in 1919.


From Alexander Leitch, A Princeton Companion, copyright Princeton University Press (1978).

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