Historic Memphis Crump Stadium

...before the Memorial Stadium and the Liberty Bowl

 

 

Crump Stadium was the Memphis Sports Stadium at 1275 Linden, adjacent to Central High School.  It was built in 1934 with a capacity of 7,500.  The WPA project was named for political boss E. H. Crump.  In 1939 the stadium was enlarged to hold 25,000.  The first intercollegiate football game featuring a Memphis team was Southwestern (Rhodes College) in 1936.  During that season 40 games were played at Crump Stadium.  New dressing rooms were constructed under the south stands in 1938.  There was still more expansion and renovation in 1939 when the north side wooden bleachers  were  demolished and replaced with  concrete stands.   In 1940  a new  600 seat-section was added in the southwest corner along with a new separate entrance and toilet facilities for African Americans, which allowed those citizens access to the segregated stadium for the first time. 

 

The stadium would remain essentially in this configuration until 1960 when once again the city voted to increase the capacity to 45,000.  But before this project began, it was halted in favor of a new Memorial Stadium at the fairgrounds.  And Crump Stadium was turned over to the Memphis City Schools.  The school district closed the stadium to competition after the 2004 high school football season.  During the summer of 2006, the stadium was demolished and replaced with a stadium more appropriate for high school football complete with a new track and other amenities.  The outer brick wall, original gates and entrances, along with the Crump Stadium name  were retained.  High school competitions resumed in the fall of 2007.  

           Crump Stadium 1939

 

 

Click on small photos to see a large photo...


 

After a 1936 game between Mississippi and Tennessee drew a record crowd of 11,000, the city decided to replace all the wooden bleachers with concrete and increase the capacity to 15,000.  A news release stated "California has its Rose Bowl, Louisiana its Sugar Bowl, and now Memphis is to have its Cotton Bowl".  They added a mirroring set  of stands on the north side of the field.  Another 1939 construction brought the capacity to 25,000.  The architect for these two expansions was E. L. Harrison, who had designed the beautiful Fairview Jr. High.

 

Tennessee Vs Ole Miss 1954

1950s

 

Vintage 1956

Vintage

Bears-NY Giants
 

E. H. Crump 1948

Crump - No Date

Elvis 1956

Elvis 1956

Elvis 1956

 

Crump Stadium hosted major college games, including all the home games of Memphis State College.  And it was the site of all big high school games.  In 1965, the major college games shifted to the newly constructed Memphis Memorial Stadium (now Liberty Bowl), and for the next 40 years high schools continued to play at Crump but the city no longer properly maintained or upgraded the old stadium and it began to show ...

 

  "Linden Wall"    
 

Decay ...

 

After many years of lack of maintenance and upgrades, City Schools administrators and coaches argued for a new stadium.  Old Crump was now said to be a "dump", to "have poor lighting standards, not enough restrooms, inadequate concession facilities, structural issues, and a malfunctioning scoreboard".  The final football game was played in 2004.  By order of the Board of Commissioners of the Memphis City Schools, Crump Stadium was demolished in 2006.

 

    Under the Stands The toilets
 
 

The Showers Locker Room Under the Stands The Stands The Demolition
 
 

Decaying Sign Decaying Sign What's left of the Sign The Outer Wall
 
 

2006 Demolition 2006 Demolition 2006 Demolition 2006 Demolition
 
 
 
 
 
 

2006 Demolition

       
 
 

EMAIL:  "No where in the page does it mention the most unusual feature of Crump Stadium:  It is laid out East to West. All other football stadiums are laid out north to south". - Ben G. Payne, 11-25-12

Webmaster's Reply:  We've investigated this rather thoroughly and  it does appear that the East-West or North-South theories are Urban Myths.  While most football fields do have their end zones in the north and south, quite a few don't.  Both the National Football League and the Pro Football Hall of Fame  say they've never even noticed the north-south thing.  The NFL has no rules on stadium orientation.  Of the 30 US professional football teams, 70% play on north-south fields.  This distribution obviously has some significant value - SUN-AVOIDANCE, being the most obvious.  But a full 30% of fields do indeed run east-west, which suggests that north-south can't be that important.   Six east-west fields open to the sun are Philadelphia, Buffalo, San Diego, Kansas City, Carolina and Baltimore.  Of 10 major college teams, eight have north-south fields - two, the Universities of Washington and North Carolina, do not.  Writer Ben Payne now agrees that although not 100%, East-West stadiums were not built due to the sun when playing outdoors. When Crump was built, it was probably one of very few East-West at the time.

 
 
 
The "new" Crump Stadium ...
 

The new Crump Stadium was completed in 2006.  It's a high-school only arena seating 7,000 people.  The familiar outer fence as well as the main gate remained from the original stadium, blending the old and the new.  High school competitions resumed in 2007.  There are no current plans to either demolish or renovate the facility.

 

The new Crump Stadium The new Crump Stadium The new Crump Stadium Hamilton-Melrose 2011
     
 
 
 
Other Crump Stadium Historic Events
 

In addition to sports events, Crump hosted other historic events including the Billy Graham crusade of 1951, and various fundraisers for St. Jude's, among them an early Elvis performance in 1957.

       

 

Billy Graham Crusade 1951    

Dinah Shore 1955

Elvis 1957

Memphis Cares 1968

 
 
 
 
Crump Stadium Memorabilia

 

 
1950 Memphis State vs. Vanderbilt 1941 1941 Postcard Vintage Ticket Stubs
 

Postcard - Vintage            Times 1964 Notre Dame 1951 1941 Mississippi

1933 Southwestern

 
     
      1949      

1951        

 
 

 

Crump Stadium:  Remember when...?
 

If you have a photo/s of memorable games or events at Crump Stadium, scan the photo as a large, high-resolution "JPEG" photo file  and send it to us and we'll post it on this page.  PLEASE include all pertinent information - event, date, names, etc.  

 
 
 

Please send us
your photo/s of
Crump events!!

 
 
         

CREDITS:  The "Historic-Memphis" Team would like to acknowledge and thank the following for their contributions which helped make this page possible:  Memphis Public Library, Memphis University Library, Memphis Commercial Appeal, Memphis Press Scimitar, Vance Lauderdale Family Archives, Joe Spake, Josh Whitehead, natxtron, Angela Canestrari, Naught_Facility, and many other individuals whose assistance is  acknowledged on the photos they contributed. 

If you have more information, memorabilia, new or vintage photos, please contact Gene Gill <gene.gill@verizon.net> . Thanks to Dave French and Maureen Thoni White for additional information and photos.

 

 

 

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