The former South Park Commission (the Commission merged with 22 other park systems to establish the Chicago Park District in 1934) hired Chicago architects Holibird and Roche in 1919 to design a stadium that would serve as a showcase “for events and a playground for the people.” On October 9, 1924, the Grant Park Municipal Stadium premiered and one year later, at the request of the Chicago Gold Star Mothers, the stadium was renamed Soldier Field.
It was known as one of the great venues during the “Golden Age of Sports” and one of Chicago’s most famous landmarks. Crowds in excess of 100,000 were commonplace, marked by several memorable events including the 1926 Army-Navy game and the epic 1927 Jack Dempsey/Gene Tunney heavyweight rematch featuring the controversial “long count”. In 1944, 150,000 spectators attended a wartime visit by President Franklin Roosevelt and thousands turned out to hear evangelist Billy Graham in 1962. Soldier Field is also the birthplace of the first Special Olympic Games in 1968. College and Professional football, rock concerts, festivals, rodeos, stock-car races, and even a skiing/toboggan event have called Soldier Field home. The Chicago Bears moved from Wrigley Field and began using the facility in 1971 and played their first game in the renovated Soldier Field on September 29, 2003.