Demolition Wraps Up on Northwestern University’s Ryan Field in Evanston

Ryan Field demolition Northwestern UniversityLittle remains of the nearly 100-year-old Ryan Field in Evanston. Photo by Daniel Schell

Ryan Field, Northwestern University’s nearly 100-year-old football stadium at 1501 Central Street in Evanston, is being demolished and replaced with a new stadium. Demolition work began in February of this year, and has progressed to the point that little remains of the stadium but memories and a little bit of the press box tower.

Ryan Field demolition Northwestern University

All that remains is this portion of the press box tower. Photo by Daniel Schell


Ryan Field demolition Northwestern University

Photo by Daniel Schell


Ryan Field demolition Northwestern University

Photo by Daniel Schell


Ryan Field demolition Northwestern University

Photo by Daniel Schell

Completed in 1926, Ryan Field was designed by James Gamble Rogers. Originally known as Dyche Stadium, in 1997 it was renamed in honor of Patrick G. Ryan, 1959 Northwestern graduate who bestowed upon the university a sizable donation for the stadium’s renovation.

Alas, by 2024 Northwestern had decided it wanted a more modern facility, and the decision was made to tear down the 45,000-seat field and replace it with a 35,000-seat facility. And so it was that on November 18, 2023, the Northwestern Wildcats defeated the Purdue Boilermakers 23-15 in the final game at old Ryan Field, some 97 years after the venerable stadium’s debut.

Ryan Field demolition Northwestern University

Caisson work near the north endzone. Photo by Daniel Schell


Ryan Field demolition Northwestern University

Photo by Daniel Schell


Ryan Field demolition Northwestern University

Photo by Daniel Schell


Ryan Field demolition Northwestern University

Driving steel sheets. Photo by Daniel Schell


Ryan Field demolition Northwestern University

Excavation and sheet driving on the east edge of the stadium site. Photo by Daniel Schell

On the opposite side of the field, excavation work has already begun on the new stadium, including the sinking of steel piles into the ground.

While the football team looks elsewhere to play, a new team is on the field for demo and construction: Alpine Demolition is the demolition contractor, and they have an impressive array of equipment on the site. The general ontractor for the stadium rebuild is a two-parter. Turner Construction and Walsh Construction are tag-teaming the project under the moniker of the Central Street Consortium. HNTB and Perkins+Will pulled design duties.

Some photos of demolition progress from February and March, 2024:

Ryan Field demolition Northwestern University

Photo via Building Up Chicago


Ryan Field demolition Northwestern University

Photo via Building Up Chicago


Ryan Field demolition Northwestern University

Photo via Building Up Chicago


Ryan Field demolition Northwestern University

Photo via Building Up Chicago


Ryan Field demolition Northwestern University

Photo via Building Up Chicago


Ryan Field demolition Northwestern University

Photo via Building Up Chicago


Ryan Field demolition Northwestern University

Photo via Building Up Chicago


Ryan Field demolition Northwestern University

Photo via Building Up Chicago


Ryan Field demolition Northwestern University

Photo via Building Up Chicago


Ryan Field demolition Northwestern University

Photo via Building Up Chicago


Ryan Field demolition Northwestern University

Photo via Building Up Chicago


Ryan Field demolition Northwestern University

Photo via Building Up Chicago


Ryan Field demolition Northwestern University

Photo via Building Up Chicago


Ryan Field demolition Northwestern University

Photo via Building Up Chicago

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5 Comments on "Demolition Wraps Up on Northwestern University’s Ryan Field in Evanston"

  1. I will forever be heartbroken that Northwestern and the Ryan family were unable to find a way to save some part of the old stadium to be immortalized in the new.

    • Totally agree. I had hoped the two towers could have been integrated. Nothing was saved, not even hanging banners

  2. Bittersweet- spent many hours watching the Cats play there years ago. I graduated in that stadium. Happy that the school is moving forward with a beautiful new stadium, but sad to see a piece of my past reduced to rubble nonetheless.

    • Chris Stevens | May 18, 2024 at 9:49 am | Reply

      The City will end up loving the new stadium despite all the whining. I live across the street and deal with the trucks and dust-dirty cars, pile driving, noise and air pollution etc. I walk past it several times a day and what I see is an enormously professional organization working very efficiently. Annoying, sure. Worthy of the hyperbolic rhetoric? Not at all. They are doing what they can to ease the burden on residents and if the demolition is any indication of the final venue, the new building will be a joy and will raise housing values (not lower them) and the Evanston way of life. It’s a done deal… time to back Northwestern and become part of the solution. We’re all going to live.

  3. I lived a block from there, and played and went to games there. They’d let us in after the 1st quarter.

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