Filed Under Education

The Stadium House

In an effort to further encourage physical activities, the university decided to build the Stadium House. While it has since been replaced, the Stadium House was a campus landmark for students in the mid-twentieth century.

Amidst the Great Depression in 1936, Brigham Young University announced the construction of a Stadium House to replace the old creamery near the far west field of campus. The project was under the direction of William H. Snell, a professor of industrial arts. Due to limited funds, the project relied on the donations of faculty, alumni, and students to provide much of the money for the building. Students held fundraisers, local businesses donated portions of proceeds, and donations from the school’s drama programs and various sports games were contributed. In total, the school raised $25,000 for the Stadium House. 

Construction commenced in the spring of 1936. In order to build the Stadium House, the school encouraged students to volunteer. Each male student of the university was encouraged to work ten hours on the project and were promised their names would be published in Y News. Skilled labor was also found amongst students. Student Rolland Perry did all electrical work, and students Grant F. Larsen and LaVell C. Gamut were primary carpenters. 

During construction, different obstacles slowed the building’s completion. As they were tearing down the old training house to make way for the Stadium House, a wall fell on freshman Max Young, burying him to his waist and leading to minor injuries. Then, during the excavation of the grounds, skeletal remains were uncovered. The remains were found facing the ground, “crumpled in a heap”, with two stones laid underneath its head. No clothing or artifacts were found on or near the body, but Professor of Geology George H. Hansen purported that the person was male and older when they died. Foul play was suspected. Nonetheless, the bones were collected and then placed back in the ground where they were covered by the foundation of the building. Moreover, after the Stadium House was constructed, flooding occurred in the basement. 

Despite setbacks, the opening of the Stadium House was met with enthusiasm by students. The building had varsity, freshmen, women’s, and visitor locker rooms and two restrooms. As a landmark on campus, many students utilized the Stadium House during their semesters for P.E. and intramural sports. In 1941, during a football game, Cosmo used the Stadium House to change costumes and then disappeared. It was purported that students had snuck into the Stadium House and discovered his identity. A newspaper article pleaded for their secrecy. In that same year, the wrestling team made the Stadium House its main area of practice. In 1942, the stadium house was used for the housing and headquarters of army cadets who were part of a new training program under Major Charles E. Powell. The program ended in 1944 when many were sent to Italy to fight in the war. When the Y Day celebrations—the day students repainted the Y and celebrated with festivities—rained out in 1950, the Stadium House sheltered workers from the rain as lunch was served. In 1951, the Stadium House accommodated the softball and football games that were part of the annual “Bury the Hatchet Week,” a celebration of the friendly feud between two of the university’s publications, The Y News and The Banyan. 

The opening of the Smith Fieldhouse had decreased overall use of the Stadium House. In 1964, it was torn down and replaced by the Richards Physical Education Building.

Images

The Stadium House On the west side of the track field, the Stadium House was used by students as locker rooms. Source: “Stadium House, 1937.” 1937. UAP 2 Folder 131; BYU Photographs, 1000 Views for 100 Years. Courtesy of University Archives, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.  https://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/digital/collection/BYUPhotos/id/404/rec/1
A Map of Upper Campus, which includes the Stadium House The Stadium House can be seen on the top left near the track field. Source: “Upper campus, 1945.” 1945. Brigham Young University. News Bureau. UAP 2 Folder 176; Brigham Young University : 1000 views of 100 years. Courtesy of University Archives, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.  https://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/digital/collection/BYUPhotos/id/508/rec/4
A Track Meet feat. the Stadium House Behind the track meet is the Stadium House, surrounded by spectators. Source: "The Invitational Track and Field Meet and Posture Parade at the stadium, ca. 1939." 1939. UAP 2 Folder 158; BYU Photographs, 1000 Views for 100 Years. Courtesy University Archives, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. https://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/digital/collection/BYUPhotos/id/468/rec/2.
Students Seeking Shelter During a rained-out "Y-Day," students took cover and ate lunch in the Stadium House Source: “RAINED OUT, BLAST IT!” Brigham Young Universe, May 18, 1950. Courtesy of University Archives, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. https://archive.org/details/brighamyounguniv256asso
An Ad for the Stadium House Ads encouraging male students to volunteer in the construction of the Stadium House were seen frequently. Source:

“When Do You Intend To Work Out Your Ten Hours On The Stadium House?” The Y News. March 27, 1936. Courtesy of University Archives, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. https://archive.org/details/ynews1523brig.

An Article Regarding Dead Body One of the only articles found in the student newspapers about the skeletal remains found. Source: “Diggers Find Human Skeleton; May Be Utah Football Player.” The Y News. May 22, 1936. Courtesy of University Archives, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. https://archive.org/details/ynews1531brig/mode/2up.

Location

Metadata

Lindsey Meza, Brigham Young University, “The Stadium House,” Intermountain Histories, accessed December 5, 2023, https://www.intermountainhistories.org/items/show/662.