Soldier Field
"Stadium in a Park"
Soldier field 2006

Soldier Field in 2006

Location 1410 S Museum Campus Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60605
Broke ground 1922
Opened October 9, 1924
Reopened September 29, 2003
Renovated 2002–2003
Closed January 19, 2002 – September 26, 2003 (renovations)
Owner Chicago Park District / City of Chicago
Operator SMG / Soldier Field Joint Venture
Surface Grass (1924–1970, 1988–present)
AstroTurf (1971–1987)
Construction cost US$13 million (1922–1939)[1]
US$632 million (2001–2003 renovation)[2]

($206 million in 2020 dollars[3])
Renovations: ($755 million in 2020 dollars[3])
Architect Holabird & Roche
Structural engineer Thornton Tomasetti
Former names Municipal Grant Park Stadium (1924–1925)
Tenants Chicago Bears (NFL) (1971–2001, 2003–present)
Chicago Fire (MLS) (1998–2001, 2003–2005)
Chicago Enforcers (XFL) (2001)
Chicago Blitz (USFL) (1983–1984)
Chicago Sting (NASL) (1975–1976)
Chicago Winds (WFL) (1975)
Chicago Fire (WFL) (1974)
Chicago Cardinals (NFL) (1959)
Chicago Rockets/Hornets (AAFC) (1946–1949)
Chicago Spurs (NPSL) (1967)
1968 International Special Olympics Games
FIFA World Cup (1994)
Capacity 61,500 [1]

Soldier Field (formerly Municipal Grant Park Stadium) is located on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, Illinois, United States, in the Near South Side. It is home to the NFL's Chicago Bears. It reopened on September 29, 2003 after a complete rebuild (the second in the stadium's history).


Origin of name and design modelEdit

The field serves as a memorial to American soldiers who had died in past wars, hence its name. It was designed in 1919 and completed in the 1920s. It officially opened on October 9, 1924, the 53rd anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, as Municipal Grant Park Stadium, changing its name to Soldier Field on November 11, 1925. Its formal dedication as Soldier Field was on Saturday, November 27, 1926, during the 29th annual playing of the Army vs Navy game.[4] Its design is modelled on the Greco-Roman architectural tradition, with doric columns rising above the stands. However, after being rebuilt, the modern stands now dwarf the columns.

Early configurationEdit

In its earliest configuration, Soldier Field was capable of seating 74,280 spectators and was in the shape of a U. Additional seating could be added along the interior field, upper promenades and on the large, open field and terrace beyond the north endzone, bringing the seating capacity to over 100,000. The largest crowd for any event at Soldier Field is difficult to determine. Please see "Notable Events" below for specific events.

The Chicago BearsEdit

Although used as the site for many sporting events and exhibitions, it was not until September 1971 that the Chicago Bears first made it their home. They previously played at Wrigley Field, best known as the home of the Chicago Cubs baseball team. Seating capacity was reduced to 55,701 by building a grandstand in the open end of the U shape. This moved the field closer to both ends at the expense of seating capacity. The goal of this renovation was to move the fans closer to the field. Beginning in 1978, the plank seating was replaced by individual seats with backs and armrests. In 1982, a new press box as wells as 60 skyboxes were added to the stadium, boosting capacity to 66,030. Fifty-six more skyboxes were added in 1988, increasing capacity to 66,946. Capacity was slightly increased to 66,950 in 1992. By 1994, capacity was slightly reduced to 66,944.[4]

AstroTurf replaced the grass in 1971, when the Bears moved to the stadium. Grass returned for the 1988 football season.

The field features many memorials to past Bears heroes. It is said that it has twice as many memorials than any other stadium.[citation needed]


  1. "Stadium History and Timeline". Official website. Soldier Field. 2010. Retrieved 21 May 2010.
  2. Riess, Steven A. (2005). "Soldier Field". The Electronic Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago Historical Society. Retrieved 21 May 2010.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2008. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Historical timeline of Soldier Field". Chicago Bears. 2009. Retrieved 21 May 2010.
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