Robert F Kennedy Memorial Stadium

The Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, also known as RFK Stadium, was a multi-purpose sports facility located in Washington, D.C. Originally, the stadium was actually known as District of Columbia Stadium, and it was eventually shortened to a D.C. stadium, or simply referred to as Washington Stadium. The current name was given to the stadium in 1969 in honor of Robert Kennedy, who was murdered that year. Kennedy himself had a personal connection to the stadium, as he fought many legal and public battles to prevent discrimination and encourage the local teams to sign on African American players. The original idea for a stadium in the capital goes back to at least 1916 when local politicians were looking to possibly attract the 1920 Olympics. However, this stadium, at its current location, actually dates back to 1932. Back then, the Roosevelt Memorial Association actually suggested the construction of a national stadium, which would serve the capital. Having said that, it took several decades to finalize the project, and the construction began sometime in the late 50s.

The stadium was actually located only about two miles away from the iconic U.S. Capitol Building, not far from the Anacostia River. The stadium opened in 1961, and peculiarly, it was actually owned by the federal government itself up until 1986. This was quite unusual for the time, as the government did not normally own sports venues, which were mostly owned or managed by the teams and their owners. The first major league baseball game at the RFK stadium happened on April 9th, 1962. President Kennedy actually threw out the first pitch (ceremonial) before 44,383 attendees. At the time, this was the highest attendance ever recorded at a professional sporting event in Washington. The name of the stadium, as you might know, refers to Robert F. Kennedy, who was tragically shot in the city of Los Angeles in 1969. The stadium continued to host several games and teams throughout its lifespan. However, the last of its teams actually left in 2008.

The stadium management announced demolition plans in 2019, and the project is expected to be carried out in 2021. According to officials demolishing the stadium would help them save about 2 million dollars a year on maintenance, as well as over 2 million dollars a year on utilities alone.

The RFK Stadium was a truly multi-purpose facility, and it hosted so many teams and events. The stadium was home to not one but two MLB teams, as well as five soccer teams, two college football teams, as well as a USFL team, and finally, a bowl game. Having said that, the stadium also hosted a huge variety of other events, highlighting the sheer versatility of this facility. What makes this stadium quite special is that this is actually one of the very first major stadium projects designed, especially with baseball and football in mind. This isn’t exactly the first multi-purpose stadium of its kind, but it was definitely the first to employ a design that will later become widely known as cookie-cutter due to its distinctive shape. Eventually, the demolition of the stadium was announced in 2019, and it is expected to take place in 2022.