Home of the Chicago Bears : Soldier Field

Since its original opening in 1924, the hallowed stadium field has hosted sold out sporting events, concerts, festivals, commercials and even dinner for two. Most recently, U2 opened their North American 360 Tour, Northern Illinois Football opened their 2008 season and the Chicago Bears won the 2006 NFC Championship.

After playing 31 years along the lakefront a brief one-year hiatus from Soldier Field while the new stadium was being constructed within its historic colonnades, the Bears have returned to their stadium by the Lake. The Bears first season at Soldier Field was in 1971 after spending 50 seasons at Wrigley Field. Soldier Field was opened in 1924 as a 45,000-seat Municipal Grant Park Stadium. The first football game played on its field was November 22, 1924, as a capacity crowd watched Notre Dame edge Northwestern, 13-6.

It hosted the first boxing event which drew a gate of over $2.5 million (Dempsey-Tunney, 1927), the first ski meet held in a stadium, and the all-time largest football crowd (123,000). The largest crowd for any event in Soldier Field was 260,000 on Sept. 8, 1954, for the Catholic church’s Marian Year Tribute.

The 100,000-seat stadium was dedicated November 27, 1926, with Army battling Navy to a 21-21 tie. The all-time collegiate attendance record of 123,000 plus was established Nov. 26, 1927 as Notre Dame beat Southern Cal 7-6. In the first professional game at the then-mammoth stadium, the Bears defeated the Chicago Cardinals 10-0 on November 11, 1926.

Plans for the stadium started in 1919 as a memorial to the soldiers of WWI. Soldier Field stood on 10,000 pile foundations driving an average depth of 62.5 feet through fill that replaced the lake waters. The new stadium continues to be owned, maintained and operated by the Chicago Park District.