The Stadium That Jack Kent Cooke Built
By Thomas Heath
The stadium that Jack Kent Cooke built in Raljon, Maryland, is a multi-purpose arena, though not in the usual sports sense. It was created as a monument to a team and its owner. It was built as a way to give something back to those Cooke called "the best bloody fans" in professional sports. And, not least, it was designed as a profit maker, one of many new stadiums seeking to capitalize on more ticket buyers, more luxury seating, more corporate advertising, more upscale restaurants and bars and other attractions.
Set on what was a 300-acre cornfield, Jack Kent Cooke Stadium certainly holds more fans than the old Griffith Stadium and RFK, and it is notably different in other respects, from its Redskins Hall of Fame to its increased restrooms for women (slightly more than for men).
The rectangular Griffith, where presidents from Woodrow Wilson to John F. Kennedy threw out the first baseball for Washington Senators games, served as the Redskins' home from 1937 to 1960. Located at 7th Street N.W. and Florida Avenue, where Howard University Hospital now stands, it originally contained 27,000 seats, later expanded to more than 31,000.
What came to be called RFK, a white, circular coliseum built on park land about a mile east of the U.S. Capitol, was home to the Redskins until December 22, 1996. The smallest NFL stadium by then, it held 56,454 fans.