MUSIC - Wild man by the J. Geils band
Franklin Field - Opened in 1895 YES 1895 and still in use. Location - at the corner of South 33rd St. and Spruce St. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On the campus of the University of Pennsylvania.
Palestra - Opened in 1927 and still in use. Location - 215 S. 33rd St. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Just to the northeast of Franklin Field.
Side note - The old Convention Hall used to be a block west of Franklin Field. The brand new children's hospital of Philadelphia now sits on the site.
One of the premier schools in the United States is the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. The school has two storied facilities for athletics. Franklin field, which has been around since 1895, and the Palestra, which has been in use since 1927. Both facilities are located at S. 33rd and Spruce Street, just about 2 miles west of downtown Philadelphia in the University City section.
Football has been played on the Franklin Field site since 1895. It has been the only home to the U of Penn Quakers football team. The 1961 premier of ABC's wide world of sports featured the Penn Relays from Franklin Field. The Army-Navy football game was played here from 1899 thru 1935, before being moved to the larger Municipal (later JFK) stadium.
Franklin Field was also home to the Philadelphia Eagles from 1958 thru the 1970 season. The Eagles had abandoned old Shibe Park in favor of Franklin Field. The 1960 NFL championship game was held here, when the Eagles beat the Green Bay Packers 17-13. It was the only playoff loss of Vince Lombardi's career.
A few infamous incidents occurred at Franklin Field while the Eagles called it home. On November 23, 1970, Howard Cosell was apparently pretty well obliterated during a Monday night game between the Eagles and the New York Giants. Allegedly he threw up all over Don Meredith's cowboy boots just before half-time. Howie left the booth and took a cab back to Manhattan. Both Don Meredith and Keith Jackson barely made mention of Cosell's absence. Cosell claimed that he was dizzy from running laps around Franklin Field's track before the game. Uh Huh....
Incident number two and probably the most famous was the Santa Claus caper. During half-time of the December 15, 1968, game between the Eagles and Minnesota Vikings, Santa Claus was booed off the field and pelted with snowballs. This is where sportscasters and writers called Philadelphia sports fans so mean that they even booed Santa Claus.
The first ever Canadian Football League game was also played at Franklin Field. On August 23rd 1958 (just a few months before I was born) the Hamilton Tiger-Cats beat the Ottawa RoughRiders 13-7.
The final Eagles game at Franklin Field occurred on December 20, 1970. The Pittsburgh Steelers were the visitors, and the Eagles prevailed 30-20. Thus ending Franklin Field's tenure as an NFL stadium.
The stadium also hosted the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championships in 1973 and again in 1992. It also hosted the Women's Lacrosse Championship in 2007. It is also the site of the annual Penn Relay's track meet. From 1990 thru 2002 Temple University also used Franklin Field for August and September football games. This was due to schedule conflicts between the Phillies and Eagles at the Vet.
For the most part, Franklin Field was used mostly for sporting activities. However on June 8, 1997, U2 played Franklin Field on their Pop Mart tour. It was the first ever public concert at the stadium.
Literally right next door to Franklin Field is one of the most famous college basketball arenas in the country. The Palestra has hosted Penn basketball since 1927. In addition to basketball, the Palestra is also home to volleyball and wrestling. It was one of the first arenas to be built without interior pillars to block views.
The first basketball game at the Palestra was on January 1, 1927, when Penn defeated Yale 26-15. The Palestra has hosted more regular season and post season NCAA men's basketball games, as well as visiting teams than any other college arena in the country.
The Philadelphia Big 5 tournament used to play all of it's games at the Palestra. The tournament featured local schools St. Joseph's, Temple, La Salle, Villanova and the host school Penn. Today, Villanova and St. Joseph's play their round robin games on their home courts.
The Palestra is in great shape. Today, it is the oldest major college arena still in use. Let's hope both the Palestra and Franklin Field stay in use for years to come.
Franklin field as seen from the Penn tower hotel. You can see Philadelphia off to the right. 9/91
Map of the Penn. campus showing the Palestra and Franklin Field. Photo from internet.
A view of the field and downtown Philly in the distance. 9/91
Photo from internet, date unknown.
The south stands of Franklin Field.
The exterior of Franklin field. 6-05
The front of the fabled Palestra. 9/91
The front of the Palestra