Sunday, June 19, 2011

Orange Bowl Snapshot: Burdine Stadium

The Orange Bowl Stadium pictured in the early 1940s

When the Orange Bowl Stadium opened in 1937, it was originally named Roddy Burdine Stadium. Burdine was one of the city's great economic figures of the early 20th century and was the head of the Burdine's department store chain. His father William Burdine founded Burdine's as a dry goods store in 1898. Roddy Burdine had been a big supporter of Miami's growing sports scene in the 1930s. He was one of the leading advocates to build a football stadium for the newly born Orange Bowl Committee headed by Ernie Seiler.

Unfortunately, Burdine passed away in 1936, one year before the stadium was completed. As a tribute to Burdine, the City of Miami passed a resolution to name the facility after the late merchant. The stadium originally seated 23,330 costing just $340,000 in construction. Although the stadium was officially called Burdine Stadium, most fans and members of the media referred to it as simply the Orange Bowl.

Over the next couple of decades, the stadium would expand in size. In 1948, Burdine Stadium added an upper deck. By 1959, the stadium's official name was changed to the Orange Bowl.

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