NU Home Sites:
Northwestern On-Campus Home Game Venues #1:
unnamed field was next
to Sheridan Road. Northwestern's first athletic grounds were farther
south on campus, near present-day Hinman Avenue, which is where the
school began playing baseball. Northwestern first played football on
the newer grounds near University Hall in
1874. The games in 1874 and 1875 were limited to interclass matches,
and they were not American football; rather, they were the old-style,
rules-free kicking game.
football game that NU played against an opponent from outside the
also took place here in 1876. That game, against the Chicago Foot-Ball
Club, was the first true football game, at any level, played in the
American Midwest. The school continued to play football
here through 1886.
in 1886 forced the school to move its football athletic grounds a couple of hundred feet
south to what was then known as Campus Meadow, where Deering Meadow is
now located. There were
never any permanent
just movable bleachers.
Campus Meadow was used by the team until early November 1890. After the
hastily-arranged November 6 game against Chicago's South Division High
School, the team moved its grounds again, but this time chose a field
several hundred yards farther north, to the spot where Sheppard Field
would be built.
Where were these fields?
original site of the football athletic grounds was a couple of hundred yards north of the present-day
Deering Meadow, where the Jacobs Center now stands. Northwestern
cleared this area in the early 1870s to use as a new baseball and football
used this field to play its first "real" game of football in February
1876. The school continued to use
the field through 1885. The field was originally quite large, spanning
over 175 feet by over 350 feet, but was made smaller in the early 1880s.
some point in 1886, construction on the campus interfered with the
athletic grounds. The school was forced to move the field slightly
south, to a spot directly next to Heck Hall (Heck Hall was where
Deering Library is now). It is unknown if NU played its single 1886
game-- a loss to Harvard Prep, a high school in Chicago-- on the old
field or the new. However, all home games on campus from 1887 through
Nov. 6, 1890 were definitely played on the more southern field, including the
first-ever game with Notre Dame in 1889.
The map below shows the exact spots of NU's first home football fields.