With discussions having begun in earnest regarding a possible new stadium for the Washington Redskins and for other uses, some historical perspective might be in order to show that this road has been traveled, in several ways, before.
In September 1961, D.C. Stadium (now RFK Stadium) opened as the outmoded Griffith Stadium closed. The concept of a stadium on the site of RFK, however, was not new. Twenty-two years earlier, on Nov. 13, 1939, the Washington Star published an aerial photograph of an area for a proposed "sports field," on the current site of RFK. On Nov. 24, 1944, the D.C. recreation board approved a resolution endorsing a National Memorial Stadium on the RFK site, a site that had previously been approved by the National Capital Planning Commission. The approved design of the stadium included seating for 100,000 people and a layout suitable for a variety of sporting and community activities, patriotic observances, pageants and festivals, plus suitable press, parking and restroom facilities. In March 1945, the Recreation Department issued a formal report on the proposed Washington sports stadium, which was to be of "national and international significance." It took 16 more years to complete the stadium project, with seating capacity reduced by almost half from the original proposal.
GORDON M. THOMAS