Northwestern University, Ryan Field / Welsh Ryan Arena - Evanston, Illinois
Ballparks, Arenas and Stadiums > Northwestern University, Ryan Field / Welsh Ryan Arena - Evanston, Illinois
MUSIC - Take me back to Chicago by Chicago

Disclaimer - Photos without my purple watermark on them are not mine, they were found on the internet and are NOT FOR SALE.

Ryan Field - Opened in 1926 and still in use. Known as Dyche Stadium 1926 - 1996, Ryan Field 1996 - present. Location - 1501 Central St. Evanston, Illinois.

Welsh Ryan Arena - Opened in 1952 and still in use. Known as McGaw Memorial Hall 1952 - 1983, Welsh-Ryan Arena 1983 - present. Location - 2705 Ashland Ave. Evanston, Illinois.

Ryan field is the home stadium for the Northwestern University Wildcats. Located about 15 miles north of downtown Chicago in Evanston, Northwestern is just off the shores of Lake Michigan. Dyche stadium opened in 1926 and has been the primary home for Wildcats football ever since. It was named after William Dyche (class of 1882) the former mayor of Evanston and the overseer of the construction of the stadium. In 1997 the stadium was renamed Ryan field after Patrick Ryan who donated 8 million dollars to the stadiums renovation.

In 1970 the Chicago Bears played their first home game of the season at Dyche stadium. The NFL was pressuring the Bears to move out of Wrigley field due to the fact it seated less than 50,000. So, on September 27th 1970, the Bears played the Philadelphia Eagles at Dyche. The final was Chicago 20 and Philadelphia 16. The Bears moved back to Wrigley after that game, then to Soldier field the following season.

The university took on a 28 million dollar renovation of the facility in 1996. A new pressbox, concession stands, wider seating, and media center were among the projects that were remodeled. The stadium had plastic grass (AKA artificial turf) from 1973 thru the 1996 season. The real stuff (grass that is) took over for the 1997 season.

Welsh-Ryan arena is located just in back of the North end zone of Ryan field. It has been home to Wildcat basketball, volleyball and wrestling since 1952. Originally, it was known as McGaw Memorial Hall. The building was named by benefactor Foster McGaw for his father Francis McGaw who was a Presbyterian minister. In 1983 the arena was renamed in honor of Patrick Ryan, president of the board of trustees and his wife's parents Mr. and Mrs. Robert Welsh, Sr.

Prior to Ryan arena, the Wildcats played in old Patten Gymnasium. The original Patten gym was built in 1910 and hosted the men's NCAA final four basketball tournament in 1939. In that tournament, the University of Oregon beat Ohio State 46-33 to win the NCAA title. The gym was demolished in 1940 and rebuilt farther north of the original site. The Technological Institute now sits on the site of the original gym. Patten Gym circa 1940 is still in use today. It now houses intramural sports as well as the women's fencing team.

The "new" arena has a very cozy seating capacity of 8,117. It can get loud under the roof. The arena held its second men's final four tournament in 1956. The University of San Francisco led by future hall of famer Bill Russell captured it's second straight NCAA title. They defeated the University of Iowa 83-71.

Both the football stadium and arena work for Northwestern. They have that closeness that a lot of stadiums and arenas don't have anymore in college. Being in the Big 10, Northwestern gets to see its share of great collegiate talent. Not to mention the talented players the Wildcats have. There is nothing like sitting in the stands of the football stadium on a crisp cold fall afternoon. Americana at it's best.
image

Ryan field, home of the Northwestern Wildcats. 7/03


image



image



image

Under the stands of Dyche stadium. Photo from internet, date unknown.


image

Dyche stadium from the air. Notice to the north, there is no Welsh Ryan arena. Photo from internet, date unknown.


image

Another aireal view, and now you can see the arena at the top of the photo. Photo from internet, date unknown.


image

Photo from internet, date unknown.


image

Inside Ryan field and the football field. The brown building at the back of the end zone is McGraw hall, later to be called Welsh Ryan arena. 9/91


image

The view of the old pressbox. 9/91


image

A panorama of the field. 9/91


image

A closer view of the old pressbox. 9/91


image



image

It's now 2003 and you can see the changes in the stadium and arena. The arena hs its new name. 7/03


image



image

The new pressbox 7/03


image



image



image



image



image



image



image

The football pressbox and west stands. 7/03


image



image



image



image

Welsh Ryan arena in the summer rain. 7/03


image

Welsh Ryan arena was known as McGraw hall the first time I saw it in 1991. 9/91


image

Inside McGraw hall in the fall of 1991. 9/91


image



image

Fast forward 12 years and you can see the new scoreboard in the arena. 7/03


image



image



image



image

The origina Patten Gymnasium. The gym was demolished in 1940.


image

An interior shot of the original Patten Gymnasium.


image



image



image

Patten Gym II.


image

Inside Patten gym II.


image

The second Patten gym exterior.


image



image

One last look at the quaint arena for Wildcat basketball. 7/03