The Rose Bowl Stadium embodies many things, including the growth of football as an American pastime and what a small town can achieve with civic commitment and investment. It also proves how a highly threatened type of historic structure can serve modern needs, and be economically viable, without losing its authentic character. Today, the Rose Bowl Stadium is a National Historic Landmark and a California Civil Engineering Landmark. It all started with a vision from Stadium Architect, Myron Hunt.
Made possible by a generous private gift to the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation by Pasadena and Los Angeles businessman Roger Stephens, the historical marker honoring Hunt is located on the outside of the stadium’s front gate – Gate A. The marker is adjacent to the Keith Jackson statue and the Rose Plaza so that all visitors can be educated on Hunt’s contributions and visions that he had for Pasadena, its residents and to the Rose Bowl Stadium. The donation also supports the preservation, protection and enhancement of the future of the Rose Bowl Stadium as a National Historic Landmark.
In 1921, Myron Hunt designed the Rose Bowl Stadium using elements of classical Greek and Roman theaters and stadia, as well as contemporary venues in the United States. He modeled the venue’s shape and size after that of the Yale Bowl in New Haven, Connecticut. Originally built as a horseshoe, before becoming a bowl in 1928, it is still one of the largest stadiums in the world. The project and construction of America’s Stadium ended up costing $272,198 to build and officially opened its doors to the public on October 28, 1922.
“There is no more aesthetically pleasing place to watch a game, and it certainly sits atop the list of stadiums a college football fan must visit in their lifetime.” – Sports Illustrated, August 2019, listing the Rose Bowl Stadium as the #1 College Football Stadium of All Time.
Hunt’s firm, Hunt and Grey became popular in Southern California during the early 1900’s and the firm did work at the present-day campus of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and the Throop Institute in Pasadena, the school which became the famed-California Institute of Technology. Hunt’s firm also became the principal architect of all of Occidental College’s buildings through 1940.
Over the past century, a series of creative, subtle adjustments—versus major reconstruction—modernized the Rose Bowl Stadium. The projects serve as a model for historic stadiums elsewhere, which are increasingly threatened with demolition. The Rose Bowl now shows millions of fans worldwide that preservation works, earning it the Los Angeles Conservancy Preservation Award in 2018.
“The addition of the Myron Hunt historical marker to the Rose Bowl Stadium grounds thanks to Roger’s generosity is incredibly appropriate and will provide a basis for education as visitors continue to come into the Arroyo Seco,” said chief development officer Dedan Brozino. “Hunt’s vision helped to create a location that continues to provide multi-generational memories for millions around the world.”
About the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation
Formed in 2010, the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation is a 501©3, tax-exempt organization whose primary goal is to financially ensure the protection, preservation and enhancement of the future of the Stadium as a National Historic Landmark. The Foundation has established funding for key capital improvement initiatives, educational programming and heritage protection due to the generosity of supporters from around the world who are invested in its premier future.
About the Rose Bowl Stadium
The Rose Bowl Stadium is the proud home of the Tournament of Roses’ Rose Bowl Game, UCLA Bruins football, AmericaFest Fourth of July Celebration, concerts including Kenny Chesney, Coldplay, Taylor Swift and U2, international and Premier League soccer matches and the World’s Largest Flea Market.
A National Historic Landmark built in 1922 and known around the world, the Rose Bowl Stadium has earned its world class reputation by hosting five NFL Super Bowl games, the 1984 Olympic Soccer matches, the 1994 Men’s World Cup, the 1999 Women’s World Cup, four BCS National College Football Championship Games and the College Football Playoff Semi-Final game.