July 12, 2013

Photo Essay: Rose Bowl Stadium, Renovated Again, and Open for Tours!

I haven't made it to the Rose Bowl fireworks for the 4th of July yet, though I viewed them from a local hillside back in 2010 when I was housesitting in Mt. Washington.

I haven't sat in one of its 90,000 pink seats yet to watch a UCLA Bruins football game, or the Super Bowl, or the Olympics, or a soccer match...

...but I will be there soon, at night, for a Justin Timberlake concert.

Since the Rose Bowl just opened up for historical tours, I thought I might get a good look at it in daylight first.

Completed in 1923 in a ravine of the Arroyo Seco, the Rose Bowl was originally not a bowl at all, but a horseshoe. The seats under the historic south scoreboard were added later to complete the bowl...

...and the entire elliptical-shaped stadium has undergone multiple renovations over the last 90 years to replace wood with concrete and to both increase and decrease seating capacity (which once surpassed a record-breaking 100,000).

Among the recent renovations includes the premium seating...

...which includes a private, higher view of the coliseum-inspired structure below, as well as a butler, if you want one.

Another level up, at the highest point of the stadium, is the new-fangled press box, a definite upgrade from the original wooden 1961 version, now with all of its technological amenities and plug-ins.

But what better view is there than from the field itself?

The field is a rare, natural green turf, only half-seeded now but will be fully piled for football season, today painted white for footie.

Down below the stadium, through a door that looks like part of an archaeological dig, construction workers and historians discovered the tiny old locker room dating back to the 1920s, which, until recently, had been used for storage.

Now it exhibits some original plumbing, and memorabilia and ephemera that have also been uncovered.

In contrast, from another tunnel, the current, clean, spacious locker room is accessible...

...down the hallowed halls lined with rock from the Arroyo...

...scattered with rose petals...

...that have blown in from the gardens above.

Although the Rose Bowl was built in the 1920s (and the Tournament of Roses had been happening for decades before that), football didn't actually rise to prominence in the U.S. until it started being televised, and enough people had enough televisions to actually watch it.

Then, in 1977, the first Super Bowl was played in Pasadena (Oakland Raiders v. Minnesota Vikings).

In 2014, the Rose Bowl will host the 100th Rose Bowl Game and the 125th Rose Parade.

Considering how many (modern) stadiums have been torn down - and, in the case of Yankee Stadium, multiple times - and are currently threatened, it's nice to see a historic athletic facility getting the attention it deserves.

Photos: Yankee Stadium: In Progress

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  1. Now you might like to come up here to the San Francisco bay area and take a tour of Levi Stadium. We were part of a group that did so and enjoyed the chance to see public and non-public areas. interesting decor and technology.