MUSIC - Born to run by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band
Photographed in 1991, 1994, 2002 and 2005 using film. Also shot in 2007 using digital.
JFK Stadium - Opened in 1926 and demolished in 1992. Wells Fargo Center built on the site. Wells Fargo Center opened in 1996. Lincoln Financial Field "the LINC" opened in 2003.
Location - JFK Stadium S. Broad St., Pattison Ave, S. 11th St., I-95 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Known as Sesquicentennial Stadium 1926, Philadelphia Municipal Stadium 1926 - 1964, John F. Kennedy Stadium 1964 - 1992.
Location - Wells Fargo Center (same as JFK Stadium) - 3601 S Broad St. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Known as CoreStates Center 1996 - 1998, First Union Center 1998 - 2003, Wachovia Center 2003 - 2010, Wells Fargo Center 2010 - present.
Location - Lincoln Financial Field - 1020 Pattison Ave. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania -- Bounded by S. Darien St., S. 11th St., I-95
J.F.K stadium was located at the corner of Broad Street and Pattison Avenue in south Philadelphia for 66 years. Municipal stadium (as it was originally called) opened on September 23rd 1926 with the Gene Tunney, Jack Dempsey heavyweight fight. Over 120,000 people witnessed the contest in which Tunney defeated Dempsey. It was the largest crowd ever for a fight. Later on, the Vet would be built on the other side of Pattison Avenue, and the Spectrum would be built just to the north of JFK stadium.
One of the biggest claims to fame for JFK stadium was the home of the annual Army Navy football game. From 1946 thru 1979, the annual game was played between the arched walls. Also, during the 60's, it was the home field for Navy in their games with Notre Dame. The Philadelphia Eagles made Municipal stadium home from 1936 thru 1939 before moving over to Shibe Park (Connie Mack stadium) in 1940. From time to time after 1940, the Eagles used Municipal stadium for select games. The other football team that called JFK home was the Philadelphia Bell of the old World football league. The WFL lasted only two years from 1974 thru 1975, but eleven games into the 1975 season, the WFL folded. Thus ending football for good at JFK stadium. The Eagles would build a bubble in the North end zone as a practice facility during bad weather.
Most people remember JFK stadium for one event. The date was July 13, 1985. It was hot and humid in Philadelphia. Live aid was happening at Wembley stadium in London, and at JFK stadium in Philadelphia. An estimated 1.5 billion people watched the event on TV. I for one, remember the day like it was yesterday. I watched the whole thing on TV, recording it on VHS tape too. The concert was held to raise money for Ethiopian famine relief. Phil Collins played at both shows. First in London, then hopping on the Concorde and playing drums for a reunited Led Zeppelin in Philadelphia. Other heavy hitters in music played too. Joan Baez proclaimed "this is your woodstock, and it's long overdue," then opened the Philadelphia portion of the concert. Madonna, Hall and Oates, Bob Dylan, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, the original Black Sabbath, Duran Duran and Eric Clapton were among the acts on stage. Perhaps the most anticipated part of the show was the surviving members of Led Zeppelin. It was a day that will be remembered forever.
J.F.K stadium not only hosted Live Aid, but held other major rock acts too. The Who played their farewell tour there on September 25th 1982. They were supported by the Clash. Pink Floyd, Barbara Streisand the Grateful Dead, the Beatles, U2, Yes and the Rolling Stones were just some of the shows that came to JFK. Led Zeppelin was set to end their 1977 US tour at the stadium, but had to cancel the show due to the death of Robert Plant's son.
Live Aid was the last hurrah for the stadium. After years of literally no maintenance on the stadium, it was condemned on July 13, 1989. The final event was ironically a Grateful Dead show on July 7th 1989. For three years the old venue sat slowly decaying in the harsh Philadelphia winters. It was finally put out of it's misery in 1992 and demolished. The Wachovia Center now stands on the site of old JFK stadium. For most people my age, JFK stadium will ring with music. Rock on!
The Wachovia center rose from the ashes of JFK stadium. The new home for the Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA and Flyers of the NHL began play in the fall of 1996. The original name was the CoreStates center, and changed to First Union center in 1998. In 2003 the name changed again to the Wachovia Center, then again to its present name, the Wells Fargo Center.
On October 5th 1996, the Flyers played their first game in the new arena. It was also their 30th anniversary of being in the NHL. The Florida Panthers beat the Flyers 3-1 to spoil the party. Brad Smyth of the Panthers had the distinction of scoring the first goal. The Flyers Dainius Zubrus tallied their first ever goal. On November 1, 1996, the 76ers had their first home game. Ironically, the Milwaukee Bucks, who a year earlier opened the Fleet center in Boston, were the opponent. Just like in Boston, the Bucks beat the home team, this time 111-103. The new arena was off and running.
The fifth member of the South Philadelphia sports complex is Lincoln Financial field, home to the Philadelphia Eagles. Built on the site of an old warehouse, the Linc was opened on August 3, 2003, with a soccer game between Manchester United and FC Barcelona. It is a far cry from the old Vet. Most fans love the new stadium. The Vet was usually the subject of ridicule by the home team and visitors alike. The Linc has great sightlines and all the modern comforts of a new stadium.
The first regular season Eagles game was a Monday night game on September 8th 2003. The Eagles took on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who ironically helped close out the Vet a year earlier. The Bucs beat the Eagles 17-0.
Besides the Eagles, the stadium hosts major concerts as well as the Army Navy football game every year. It is also the home field for Temple University.
South Philadelphia is alive and well with sports. All four major sports are played within yards of each other. Six venues have been at the intersection of Broad Street and Pattison Avenue. Two have been demolished, the Vet and JFK stadium. The old Spectrum is on life support now too. Plans are being looked at to demolish the old arena of the Flyers and 76ers. Then there were three.
JFK Stadium September 1991. Rotting in the south Philly sun. The legendary stadium has already been condemned, and demolition is coming. 9/91
From the north parking lot. You can see the bubble where the Eagles held workouts in bad weather. Basically now, (1991) JFK stadium has been condemned and is waiting demolition. 9/91
Weeds and trees seem to ingulf the old stadium. 9/91
From a distance, the stadium looks fine. Upon closer inspection tho, it's a different story. 9/91
The players tunnel is barely visible due to the weeds growing everywhere. 9/91
The field with a portable goal post. 9/91
The stadium is about a year away from demolition. 9/91
The city of Philadelphia is off in the distance, as is the Spectrum and Vet. 9/91
Inside the decrepit press box. Lights are busted, and the desk tops are rotting. 9/91
A concession stand falling apart under the stands.
Part of the bleachers are gone, and the field is now used for storage by the city of Philadelphia. 9/91
The press box condemned and falling apart. 9/91
Bathrooms and concession stands sit empty and decaying. 9/91
An empty lot paved over. Soon construction will begin on the new CoreStates center. 7/94
Weeds grow where JFK stadium once stood. In the distance you can see the Spectrum and the Vet. 7/94
The First Union Center sits on top of old JFK stadium. No marker is present to recognize JFK stadium. 6/02
The view of the Wachovia center from Citizens Bank park. You can see how close all the stadiums are to each other. 4/05
The Wachovia center on a HOT HUMID July night. 7/07
Lincoln Financial field from the parking lot of the Wachovia Center, on that same HOT HUMID July night. 7/07
Spring back five years and the Eagles nest rises from the old warehouse site. 6/02
Another shot of Lincoln Financial field being built. 6/02
The Linc is finished and is seen from the upper deck of Citizens Bank park.. 4/05
Another view of the Linc. 4/05
The Linc from the north parking lot. 7/07
You can see the Eagles log in the upper deck in the middle of the photo. It's still that same HOT HUMID July night, on my way to a Phillies game across the street. 7/07