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Chicago's Historic Soldier Field

News of the owner of Segway's recent crash shares top billing on news shows with the renovation of Soldier field in Chicago.  Chicago's historic Soldier Field was opened in 1924 and changed its name to Soldier Field in 1925, in honor of troops who had served in World War I. The stadium is now the smallest in the NFL in terms of seating capacity, with the capability of seating about 61,500 fans. The stadium has been rebuilt twice, the last time being in 2003. The city and the tem have been committed to keeping the stadium open rather than replacing it like so many franchises have done. The Chicago Bears are one of the marquee teams in the league, with a long and highly successful history. The stadium they play in is just as historic, having seen a lot of great action through the years.

Early Years with Chicago Bears

The stadium was used for many different purposes throughout its history, but was not the home of the Bears until the 1971 NFL season. Interestingly enough, the stadium switched to artificial turf when it welcomed the Bear franchise, but switched back to natural grass in the late 1980s [1]. Early on when it was first designed in 1919, it was intended as a memorial to Americans who died in wars, most notably World War I which had recently ended at that time. It is modeled on Greco Roman architecture, giving its exterior a very distinctive look. During the rebuild in 2003, the idea was to strengthen and modernize the building while keeping true to its design. Today it seats around the same number of people it originally did when it was first built, even following several intermittent changes in seating configurations throughout the years [1].

Because of the extent of the renovation in 2003, Soldier Field was delisted as a historic landmark. This occurred in 2004 following a unanimous vote by a federal committee. The committee believed that keeping Soldier Field listed would lower the standard of landmarks around the country. The renovation itself met some controversy and its result received mixed reviews from the public and the press. But owners saw no other choice, given the need to modernize and create more space for those who attended football games and other events there. Interestingly, New York newspapers looked more kindly upon the renovations than those in Chicago [1].

Special Events at Soldier Field

Soldier Field has always been home to fantastic events, even long before it was home to the Chicago Bears NFL franchise. Back in the old days of the stadium's existence, it would play host to the annual Army Navy college football battle. And these days, there are many great events going on these all the time. Major bands play Soldier Field every summer, with the venue frequently selected as the place to kick off national and international tours. Whether or not everyone loves the physical results of the structural renovations, there are very few people who have ever been around Soldier Field that would say it does not have a historical character.

You might see billboards with ads from low cost car insurance companies in the grandstands, but there is no doubt that this stadium is one of the treasures of Chicago's Lake Shore Drive. People from all over the world recognize the facility by sight based on its looks and location. Soldier Field is an important part of the city of Chicago even if it no longer qualifies as a national historical landmark. And everyone in town will tell you that Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois is still rocking every home Sunday during NFL football season. The stadium is an integral part of the city.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soldier_Field Retrieved 2010-09-30.

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