Beaver Stadium

November 04, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Today's Beaver Stadium had two precursors in completely different locations on the University Park campus — "Old" and "New" Beaver Field — but all three were named in honor of the same influential man.

By 1909 Penn State had outgrown "Old" Beaver Field, it's original 500-seat football arena, built in 1893 behind Osmond Laboratory. A "New" Beaver Field was constructed on the site where Kern Building and the Nittany Parking Deck are today; originally made of wood, it was rebuilt with steel in 1936.

After the 1959 season, New Beaver Field was dismantled and in 700 pieces was moved a mile and a half to east campus, there reassembled beneath a new superstructure and christened Beaver Stadium. Horseshoe-shaped, when completed in 1960 it boasted 46,284 seats.

Through all three iterations, the facility honored James A. Beaver, a key figure in the University's history. A Bellefonte attorney, Beaver led the 148th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment in the Civil War, rising to the rank of brigadier general. He was president of Penn State's Board of Trustees for 24 years and was a popular figure with students. He also served as Governor of Pennsylvania from 1887 to 1891; and became a justice of the State Superior Court. Beaver also served as acting president of Penn State from 1906 to 1908.

It was Beaver who, as governor, secured state funds for a grandstand and other improvements to Penn State's first intercollegiate football field, which in 1893 the students named in his honor, an honor that continues today.

Several expansions have brought Beaver Stadium to a capacity of 106,572, making it the second-largest of its kind in the nation.

Beaver Stadium shortly after construction in 1960

Beaver Stadium in 1960, shortly after construction was completed, with a 46,284-seat capacity. The horseshoe-shaped arena boasted rows 70 feet high on either side from goal line to goal line, and at the closed end measured 35 rows high. At the open end more bleachers could be set up if needed, under the free-standing scoreboard.

IMAGE: Penn State University Archives


  • General James A. Beaver

    General James A. Beaver

    IMAGE: Penn State University Archives

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Last Updated November 19, 2015