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Photos Then & Now: Cougars’ playing field

Martin Stadium grew out of devastating fire

Washington State University’s Martin Stadium first took shape as Soldier Field in 1892 and became Rogers Field in 1902. In 1970, some of the football stadium’s 1930s-era wooden bleachers were destroyed by fire, only a year after a blaze destroyed bleachers in the University of Idaho’s Neale Stadium. For the next two years, the Cougars played home games at Spokane’s Joe Albi Stadium while the Vandals played at the still-damaged Rogers Field. During the reconstruction in Pullman, businessman and University of Washington graduate Dan Martin gave $250,000 to the effort and asked that the stadium be named after his father, former Washington Gov. Clarence D. Martin. The first game at Martin Stadium was played Sept. 30, 1972. Since then, the stadium’s seating capacity has grown to almost 40,000. Thousands of yards of dirt were removed in 1979, lowering the playing surface 16 feet to improve the view for front-row fans. On the Web: Find more historical photos and present-day comparisons at spokesman.com/then-and-now.

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