Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Arroyo Seco's Rose Bowl Stadium: The Granddaddy of Them All

With the 2010 Rose Bowl Game now history and the BCS National Championship game just hours away, it seems fitting to spend a few minutes lauding the amazing Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena's Brookside Park, adjacent to the Arroyo Seco.

As an attendee at this year's Rose Bowl Game, I was reminded of the amazing sightlines from virtually any seat in the stadium (except the first 10 rows which are disappearing as part of a major stadium upgrade over the next few years).

While the Rose Bowl Operating Company, under the able leadership of Darryl Dunn, keeps a multitude of sports and entertainment events running smoothly year round, it is the stadium itself that fascinates me.

Most people don't realize that the Rose Bowl is both owned and operated by the City of Pasadena, a rarity in today's modern sports world. According to the Tournament of Roses history, Pasadena purchsed the 10 acre Arroyo Seco site where the stadium currents sits in 1897. Building of the stadium commenced in 1921 and the stadium, designed to be the 'official' home of the Rose Bowl Game, was dedicated on January 1, 1923.

Do you know which teams played in the first football game in the stadium? It was the University of California Bears versus the University of Southern California Trojans on October 22, 1922, the first of many north-south California college games.

Here are some more fun facts, courtesy of the Tournament of Roses organization:

The official seating capacity is 92,542.

The stadium is a National Historic Landmark and its design was based on the Yale Bowl in New Haven, Connecticut.

It sits at an elevation of 825 feet above sea level.

Its playing surface is natural turf comprised Bullseye Bermuda grass with rye, cut to 1/2 to 5/8 inch on game day.

There are 357 Musco light fixtures of high intensity, metal lark halide.

The stadium has an elliptical shape with a north-south configuration.

Legendary Architect Myron Hunt designed the stadium, which was built at a cost of $272,198.

Official Address: 1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena, California 91103

You don't have to be a sports fan to love the Rose Bowl. It's worth a trip to Pasadena to just experience this magnificent work of living history. Be sure to wear your walking shoes so you can enjoy all that Brookside Park has to offer, including the public Brookside Golf Course and bucolic walking and equestrian trails along the beautiful Arroyo Seco stream.

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