Legend has it that a truck and rock crusher remain buried under the stadium to this day. Those would be machines working on the creation of stadium embankments in the hard bedrock of Columbia, Missouri. Back in the 1920s its hard geological conditions caused the stadium to be more expensive and time-consuming than others built throughout the country.
When finally delivered in 1926 as Memorial Stadium (commemorating the 112 alumni and students killed during WWI), the ground was horseshoe-shaped with an open end in the south. The field was surrounded by 400-meter running track. Interestingly, only sections along the sides were covered with concrete, while the northern curve remained a grassy hill.
Since 1927, as a students’ initiative, the hill is decorated by the “Rock M”, a giant letter M built with rocks left from construction. The rocks were painted white first and since 1927 are repainted every year by Univeristy of Missouri freshmen.
Until 1948 the stands remained single-tiered and held just over 30,000 at peak. Then additional upper sections along the west and east side began to be added. The process lasted until 1965, later topped with a modern press box in the west.
In early 1970s the university contemplated removing the running track and lowering the field to add new front rows. This proved unfeasible because of the bedrock, but the track was removed either way. To raise capacity in such conditions the stadium had to lose its initial layout with open south end. A more “rectangular” stand was erected there in 1978.
Since 1996 the ground has permanent floodlights. New millennium brought further changes with western press box growing into a large corporate hospitality building with press seats only as addition. In 2013 the green hill in the north was reshaped. Slightly more flat, but also closer to the field it now holds more people. In 2014 new uppermost deck was added to the east section, bringing capacity beyond the 70,000-mark. Eventually further 10,000 may be added in the south.
Tenant: Missouri Tigers (NCAA)