J.F.K. Stadium (demolished) - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Ballparks, Arenas and Stadiums > J.F.K. Stadium (demolished) - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Music - Born to run by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band

Photographed in 1991 and 1994 using film.

J.F.K. Stadium opened in 1926 and demolished in 1992. Wells Fargo Center built on the site. Wells Fargo Center opened in 1996.

Opened as Sesquicentennial Stadium in 1926, Philadelphia Municipal Stadium 1926 thru 1964 and J.F.K. Stadium from 1964 till demolition in 1992.

The first football team to call this place home was the Philadelphia Quakers of the old AFL. They only played there in 1926. The Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL had two different stints here. First was from 1936 thru 1939 and again in 1941. The Liberty Bowl was played here from 1959 thru 1963 when it was moved to Atlantic City, New Jersey for one year. Starting in 1965, the Liberty Bowl has been played in Memphis, Tennessee at ....... the Liberty Bowl.

The annual Army - Navy game was a staple of JFK. Staring in 1936 and ending in 1979.

The last football tenant was the old Philadelphia Bell of the short lived WFL. They only played here one year in 1974. They decided to move to Franklin Field on the campus of the U of Pennsylvania for the 1975 season. The team and the WFL faded into obscurity after 1975 when the league folded.

J.F.K stadium was located at the corner of Broad Street and Pattison Avenue in south Philadelphia for 66 years. Municipal stadium (as it was originally called) opened on September 23rd 1926 with the Gene Tunney, Jack Dempsey heavyweight fight. Over 120,000 people witnessed the contest in which Tunney defeated Dempsey. It was the largest crowd ever for a fight. Later on, the Vet would be built on the other side of Pattison Avenue, and the Spectrum would be built just to the north of JFK stadium.

One of the biggest claims to fame for JFK stadium was the home of the annual Army Navy football game. From 1946 thru 1979, the annual game was played between the arched walls. Also, during the 60's, it was the home field for Navy in their games with Notre Dame. The Philadelphia Eagles made Municipal stadium home from 1936 thru 1939 before moving over to Shibe Park (Connie Mack stadium) in 1940. From time to time after 1940, the Eagles used Municipal stadium for select games. The other football team that called JFK home was the Philadelphia Bell of the old World football league. The WFL lasted only two years from 1974 thru 1975, but eleven games into the 1975 season, the WFL folded. Thus ending football for good at JFK stadium. The Eagles would build a bubble in the North end zone as a practice facility during bad weather.

Most people remember JFK stadium for one event. The date was July 13, 1985. It was hot and humid in Philadelphia. Live aid was happening at Wembley stadium in London, and at JFK stadium in Philadelphia. An estimated 1.5 billion people watched the event on TV. I for one, remember the day like it was yesterday. I watched the whole thing on TV, recording it on VHS tape too. The concert was held to raise money for Ethiopian famine relief. Phil Collins played at both shows. First in London, then hopping on the Concorde and playing drums for a reunited Led Zeppelin in Philadelphia. Other heavy hitters in music played too. Joan Baez proclaimed "this is your woodstock, and it's long overdue," then opened the Philadelphia portion of the concert. Madonna, Hall and Oates, Bob Dylan, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, the original Black Sabbath, Duran Duran and Eric Clapton were among the acts on stage. Perhaps the most anticipated part of the show was the surviving members of Led Zeppelin. It was a day that will be remembered forever.

J.F.K stadium not only hosted Live Aid, but held other major rock acts too. The Who played their farewell tour there on September 25th 1982. They were supported by the Clash. Pink Floyd, Barbara Streisand the Grateful Dead, the Beatles, U2, Yes and the Rolling Stones were just some of the shows that came to JFK. Led Zeppelin was set to end their 1977 US tour at the stadium, but had to cancel the show due to the death of Robert Plant's son.

Live Aid was the last hurrah for the stadium. After years of literally no maintenance on the stadium, it was condemned on July 13, 1989. The final event was ironically a Grateful Dead show on July 7th 1989. For three years the old venue sat slowly decaying in the harsh Philadelphia winters. It was finally put out of it's misery in 1992 and demolished. The Wachovia Center now stands on the site of old JFK stadium. For most people my age, JFK stadium will ring with music. Rock on!

Location - 3300 S. 7th St. #1 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
image

This mess was once the press box. Looks like termites got to it.


image



image

To give you a sense of where JFK once stood. The Wells Fargo Center now occupies JFK's footprint.


image

The Wells Fargo Center sits pretty much in the middle of old J.F.K. Stadium.


image



image



image

My version of the holy trinity in Philadelphia. The Vet, Spectrum and JFK.


image

This used to be the press box. Now peeling paint, rotting wood and busted lightbulbs.


image

One of the ramps on the west side.


image



image

Bathrooms and concession stands sit empty and decaying.


image

The players tunnel is barely visible due to the weeds everywhere.


image



image

From a distance, the stadium looks fine. Upon closer inspection tho, it's a different story.


image

Weeds and trees seem to ingulf the old stadium.


image

JFK Stadium September 1991. Rotting in the south Philly sun. The legendary stadium has already been condemned, and demolition is coming.


image

From the north parking lot. You can see the bubble where the Eagles held workouts in bad weather.


image

Fast forward to 1994, and nothing is left.


image



image



image



image



image



image



image



image



image



image



image



image



image



image



image



image



image



image



image



image



image



image



image



image



image



image



image



image



image



image



image



image



image



image



image



image



image



image



image



image

As Jim Morrison sang, this is the end, beautiful friend.


image