The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is located at 3911 South Figueroa Street in Los Angeles, California.
Erected as a memorial to World War I Veterans, the Coliseum opened in 1923, the same year as the original Yankee Stadium. The Coliseum hosted both the 1932 and 1984 Olympics.
From 1958 until 1961, it was the home of the National League Los Angeles Dodgers.
Primarily used as a football stadium, from 1951 to 1972, and 1979, the Coliseum hosted the NFL’s Pro Bowl.
In 1967 it hosted the first Super Bowl, between the National Football League Green Bay Packers and the American Football League Kansas City Chiefs. The Coliseum also hosted the National Football League Los Angeles Rams from 1946 to 1979, the American Football League Los Angeles Chargers in 1960, and the National Football League Los Angeles Raiders from 1982 to 1994.
Since 1923 it has been the home of the University of Southern California Trojans football team.
The Coliseum also is notable for hosting John F. Kennedy’s Acceptance Speech as part of the Democratic National Convention in 1960.
When the Dodgers moved from Ebbets Field in Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958, the Coliseum was meant to provide only a temporary home while the team constructed a new stadium.
Because the Coliseum was never meant for baseball, the dimensions of the field were quite skewed. The left field corner was a mere 251 feet from home plate and right field a mere 300 feet. A 40 foot screen was erected in left field in an attempt to combat the extremely friendly confines of the left field porch. Additional fencing was added in center field to cut back to 440 feet what would have been a 700 foot center field.
The Coliseum hosted the Major League Baseball All Star Game in 1958 and the World Series in 1959. A plaque honoring the 1959 Fall Classic is posted at the main entrance to the Coliseum near Exposition Park. The Coliseum is the third oldest ballpark still standing. The other two are Fenway Park and Wrigley Field.
In 1962, the Dodgers moved seven miles northeast of the Coliseum to their new home in Chavez Ravine.
In 2008, professional baseball returned to the Coliseum to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Dodgers arrival in Los Angeles.
The Coliseum was reconfigured once again for baseball and an exhibition game between the Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox brought a record crowd of 115,300 fans to the ballpark.
The Coliseum is one of only nine former major league baseball stadiums still in existence (Sun Life Stadium, Qualcomm Stadium, RFK Stadium, the Metrodome, Candlestick Park, Jarry Park (although converted to a tennis stadium), Olympic Stadium, and the the Astrodome are the remaining eight). [EDITOR’S NOTE: since publication of this blog post, Qualcomm Stadium, the Metrodome, and Candlestick Park were demolished.
In September 2013, the City of Los Angeles agreed to a lease with USC granting the University control over the Coliseum for 98 years. USC has announced that it plans to renovate the historic structure.
The University has hired the DLR Group of Omaha, Nebraska, to conduct a feasibility study for upgrades to and renovation of the 91 year old historic structure.
With USC’s pledge to spend $100 million to renovate the stadium, the old ballpark’s future looks bright, for it appears the Coliseum is not in danger of becoming another lost ballpark.