Did You Know An Octagon-Shaped Annex to Ohio Stadium Was Proposed Back in 1944?

By Chris Lauderback on June 21, 2020 at 1:51 pm
Proposed annex to Ohio Stadium from 1944.
OSU Library Archives

If you've never perused the Ohio State University Libraries website, I encourage you to do so. In particular, you'll find some great information and images of Ohio Field and Ohio Stadium

The Shoe hosted its first game as Ohio State battled Ohio Wesleyan on October 7, 1922 with the formal dedication occurring during that season's Michigan game. 

Like any stadium around that long, the structure has undergone its fair share of renovations and changes including seating expansion, a lowered field, numerous playing surfaces, scoreboard changes and expanded luxury seating to name a few. 

Thankfully, not every suggestion to modify Ohio Stadium has come to pass. 

Did you know that back in October 1944, according to the university archives, a routine campus building report proposed an annex to the north end of the Shoe?

The Stadium’s shape was imperiled in the fall of 1944, when a routine University report to the State of Ohio on campus building needs included a proposal to attach an octagonal structure to the stadium’s north end. The new combination field house and auditorium would use the stadium’s exterior north wall as its own south wall, and would use the stadium’s north dome as a stage. Hearing of the nascent plans in October 1944, the OSU Alumni Monthly called the appendage “nothing short of monstrosity,” and wrote again the following February, “From any angle, it looks screwy.” 

Hats off to the OSU Alumni Monthly for calling a spade a spade. 

Turns out, everyone's a winner here as the idea behind the proposal eventually morphed into what became St. John Arena in 1956. The arena, named after former athletic director and men's basketball coach Lynn St. John, housed numerous sports and events. Most notably, the men's basketball team called the facility home until 1998. 

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