NU Home Sites:
Sheppard Page


Northwestern On-Campus Home Game Venues #2:

This field, located where the fraternity quads now stand, started as the unnamed north campus field. On November 6, 1890, NU played its last home game on the old Campus Meadow field. Later that month, the team decided to shift its playing field farther north, to make room for the additional fans that Beloit (at the time, Beloit was a regional power in football) would bring. Six hundred spectators saw the first game on the new location on November 22, 1890.

The school decided to use the new location permanently and broke ground on a new athletic area on September 14, 1891.  NU originally planned to name the area "Muir Field," after baseball manager George Muir, who was initially in charge of the athletic complex's construction.  For the 1891 season, the football grounds were similar to the previous field-- no permanent grandstands or structures.

Built just before the 1892 season, NU's first permanent stands had 750 seats.  At the October 15, 1892 Beloit game the field was dedicated as Sheppard Field (named after NU business manager Robert Sheppard, who donated the lumber for the surrounding fence), and it soon had 1,000 seats.

The permanent seating, built in 1892 and featuring its distinct pagoda.
[NU Archives Photo]

One of the earliest photos of an NU football game, taken from the north end zone.
[NU Archives Photo]

The grandstands, oddly, were constructed next to the south end zone. For the game shown above, temporary bleachers are visible along the west sidelines, between the field and Sheridan Road. If you look closely on the far right, you can see a couple of spectators sitting on the wood fence that blocks off the grounds. Also of note: Dearborn Observatory is visible on the left, in its original location (the structure was moved in the 1930s).

The Purple readies a snap during a 1901 game vs. Naperville College at Sheppard field
[Chicago Hist. Soc. Photo]

Note the horses and carriages lining the east fence. Even in those days, parking was expensive: NU charged $2.00 for such a prime spot.

Venue Name: November 1890 - 1892: North Campus Field. 1892 - 1904: Sheppard Field.
Dates Used: 1890 - 1904
First Game: November 22, 1890 vs. Beloit
First Game as Sheppard Field: Oct. 15, 1892 vs. Beloit
Last Game: Nov. 12, 1904 vs. Illinois
NU Record at North Campus Field / Sheppard Field:
70 Wins, 17 Losses, 10 Ties
(North Campus Field Record: 4-0-1. Sheppard Record: 66-17-9)
Largest Crowd: Unknown. Likely over 2,200.
Highlight Game(s): 1901 win over Notre Dame

Where was this field?

NU's histories simply mention that the field was in the present-day fraternity quads. Using old platte maps of Evanston, however, we can identify the exact spot:

The grandstands were a little over a hundred feet from the edge of where Tech is now; they sat on the spot of present-day 2251 Sheridan Road.