Orange Bowl Stadium (1937 – 1947)

Roddey Burdine Stadium in September of 1937Roddey Burdine Stadium in September of 1937

Miami’s Orange Bowl stadium was the most revered sports venue in the City of Miami for more than 70 years. The inception of the stadium and the signature New Year’s Day game that was played in that stadium was inspired by the love of football and the need for tourism. The idea of the game was to encourage fans of the top football programs to travel to Miami to play in a warm weather climate during the worst part of winter for much of the nation. This would provide a reason for tourists to spend their limited travel budget during the Great Depression on a trip to the Magic City to root their favorite team to victory.

Although the venue was not originally named for the football game, it was so tightly linked with the event that it did not take long before everyone just referred to it as the ‘Orange Bowl Stadium’. From the very first game, the venue became a shrine for football and some of South Florida’s biggest events. Interest in acquiring tickets for the big New Year’s Day game grew exponentially through the years. This put pressure on city and Orange Bowl officials to continually modernize and grow the seating capacity of the stadium. Miami’s iconic football shrine could not afford to fall behind the size and features of other stadiums for fear of losing the right to host the best matchups during college bowl season each year. The Orange Bowl being relegated to a second-tier post-season game would have serious financial implications for the city’s pivotal tourism industry.

The first ten years of the stadium represented a decade of heavy use, enlargement, and reconfiguration to accommodate the growing popularity of the sport of football. The stadium advisory and Orange Bowl committees, as well as city officials, were constantly planning the next expansion and renovation of venue. Planning for the next renovation and enlargement was continuous. This is the story of the stadium’s first decade.

Earnie Seiler and his secretary, Helen Brammer, during the early years of the Orange Bowl

Figure 1: Earnie Seiler and his secretary, Helen Brammer, during the early years of the Orange Bowl

The Mad Genius – Earnie Seiler

South Florida has been the home to some creative boosters who could give a master class in how to promote an idea. Carl Fisher convinced the world that Miami Beach was “America’s Winter Playground” in the 1920s as it was being developed from a barrier island to what would eventually conform to the vision he was selling. Bill Veeck was a pioneer baseball innovator who applied his creativity to make minor league baseball popular in South Florida at the former Miami Stadium. However, the one man who stood the test of time in providing creativity to the Orange Bowl game and stadium, decade after decade, was Earnie Seiler, nicknamed the ‘Mad Genius’ by Miami Herald columnist Jimmy Burns.

Earnie was no stranger to the game of football. His involvement with the game dated back to the 1920s when he was the head coach for the football program of Miami High School. At that time, the team played on what Seiler referred to as a “sandspur field” at Royal Palm Park, which was located between today’s Biscayne Boulevard and SE Third Avenue, just south of Flagler Street. It was on this field that Seiler made a humorous blunder that he shared in an interview which aired on WQAM in 1973.

In that interview, Earnie shared the following story:

“It happened when I was coaching at Miami High in 1925. In those days, a coach couldn’t send a substitute player into the game with a play. The substitute player couldn’t say a word when he got into the huddle. So, I set up three buckets on the sideline. If I kicked down one bucket, it meant that I wanted the play to go off right tackle. Another bucket meant left tackle. Anyway, we were marching down the field like wild this day, we got down to our opponent’s 20-yard line, and in the excitement, I (accidently) kicked over the middle bucket. I didn’t notice it, but my quarterback did. I had told our quarterback to punt whenever he saw that I had kicked over the middle bucket. Well, this kid punted from the 20-yard line, kicked the ball into the street, and through the window of the old Calumet Building. We couldn’t get the ball out of the building, so we had to hold up the game until we found another football.”

Seiler was so synonymous with the venue that the Orange Bowl was called “the stadium that Earnie built” by the author of the book ‘Fifty Years on the Fifty: The Orange Bowl Story.’ It was Earnie Seiler who convinced the Public Works Administration (PWA), one of FDR’s depression-era alphabet soup agencies responsible for funding worthy municipal projects around the country, to commit to help fund the initiative to construct the first version of the Orange Bowl in 1937. He was also responsible for conceiving and organizing the Orange Bowl Parade before the game, and the halftime show during the game. Some of the halftime extravaganzas were just as captivating as the game itself.

A great example of how creative and committed he was to the Orange Bowl occurred in 1939.  Seiler convinced undefeated Oklahoma to accept half the money offered by the Sugar and Cotton bowl games by sneaking on campus at Norman after they won their final game to remain undefeated, and writing ‘ON TO MIAMI!’ in chalk on the sidewalks and then selling the Sooner players on why the Orange Bowl was best for them with a morning lecture that featured huge posters of beautiful women in swimwear on the sands of Miami Beach. After the team accepted the offer, Earnie was quoted as saying “I’m a great believer in visual aids.”

Seiler was not only a co-founder of the Orange Bowl game and a catalyst for the construction of the original stadium, but he also remained a consistent presence on the Orange Bowl Committee, serving as executive director until 1974, and became the game and stadium’s most ardent advocate. When he felt the venue was falling behind the seating capacity and quality of other big game stadiums, he would push the city to invest in the Orange Bowl. He was not only the Orange Bowl’s most animated booster, but he was also the game and stadium’s caretaker.

Wooden stadium that preceded Roddey Burdine Stadium from 1935 - 1937

Figure 2: Wooden stadium that preceded Roddey Burdine Stadium from 1935 – 1937

Wooden Stadium from 1935 – 1937

Prior to the construction of a permanent concrete and steel stadium, the first three Orange Bowl games were played in a temporary wooden stadium that was put together by the ingenuity of the ‘Mad Genius’. There were two games played at Moore Park as part of the Palm Festival on New Year’s Day in 1933 and 1934 that preceded the Orange Bowl. No one was happy with the location at Moore Park so a new location was sought.

The committee for the first Orange Bowl chose a lot near a baseball diamond called Miami Field, formerly named Tatum Field, in the Riverside neighborhood, to host the first game. In 1934, Earnie Seiler, who was the Miami recreation director at the time, signed a note to purchase a set of wooden bleachers that were used for the 1934 American Legion Convention. He then convinced the local Works Progress Administration (WPA) officials to provide labor to move the stands from Biscayne Boulevard to the new site. Although Seiler had no authority to sign the note or authorize the use of labor, he chose the path of “ask for forgiveness rather than permission” route to get things done.

For the next three years, on January 1st of each year, the Orange Bowl was played in a makeshift field surrounded by wooden bleachers, but still attracted 5,134 attendees in 1935, a slightly larger crowd of 6,568 in 1936, and an even larger crowd of 9,210 in 1937. Attendance at the first game, played in a temporary rickety facility, provided enough encouragement that people were interested in traveling to Miami for a New Year’s Day football game, that there was a groundswell of support for the idea of a permanent stadium to host the Orange Bowl.

Aerial of Roddey Burdine Stadium and Miami Field on January 17, 1947

Figure 3: Aerial of Roddey Burdine Stadium and Miami Field on January 17, 1947

Miami Municipal Stadium Constructed

After the completion of the first game in 1935, Seiler traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with an old college buddy, Charlie Gaines, who was a high official within the Roosevelt administration. After a short exchange of pleasantries, Earnie shared his reason for coming to Washington D.C. and had hoped Gaines could help facilitate introductions to those in the federal government who could assist Miami build a permanent stadium. Gaines introduced him to Postmaster General James Farley to hear Seiler’s idea for a stadium project in Miami, and Farley offered a sympathetic ear. When Farley asked who would play in the next game, Seiler had done his homework and suggested Catholic University, which was Farley’s alma mater.

Farley then introduced Seiler to Colonel Horatio B. Hackett, who was the Assistant Administrator within the Public Works Administration (PWA). Hackett was a former college football player at Army and was a big fan of the game. He agreed to come to Miami and assess the stadium project idea, while he visited other PWA projects ongoing in South Florida at the time. One of those projects overseen by Hackett was the Liberty City Housing Project.

After spending New Year’s Eve day visiting the other projects, Hackett attended the Orange Bowl Game played on January 1, 1936. He was joined by Seiler and other Orange Bowl Committee members, as well as Postmaster General James Farley who watched his alma mater, Catholic University, defeat Ole Miss in an exciting game decided by one-point. The final score was 20 – 19. After the game, Hackett’s favorable report to the secretary of the interior and PWA leadership led to the approval of the project.

The contract for construction of the stadium was awarded on July 2, 1936, to the Rodney Miller, Inc. general contracting firm for an estimate of $232,081. Although the contract was awarded in July, the official groundbreaking ceremony for the new stadium would not occur until the day of the 1936 Orange Bowl game played on January 1, 1937. Colonel Hackett returned to Miami to be a part of the groundbreaking ceremonies and to watch the last Orange Bowl game in the temporary wooden stadium that would be replaced with a permanent stadium prior to the next New Year’s Day game.

Construction of the structure was completed in mid-September of 1937 and was ready to be turned over to the City of Miami. On September 20, 1937, C.S. Nichols, public service director for the city, and O.P. Hart, city WPA project manager, inspected the stadium and both gave their stamp of approval. The venue was given the green light just days before the first game scheduled to take place in the stadium.

In the end, the total cost of the project was $320,865 with $17,525 paid by the city, $141,340 provided as a grant from the PWA, and $162,000 extended as a loan from the PWA to the city. The Miami Municipal Stadium, as it was initially called, was constructed to provide a seating capacity of 23,330 seats.

The first game at the new stadium was played on September 24, 1937, featuring a matchup between Miami Edison High against Ponce de Leon High schools. Edison defeated Ponce by a score of 36 – 0, but the outcome of the game was not the headline. The next morning, the Miami Herald lead read: “Everything Runs on Schedule Until Lights Fail at Stadium.” With two minutes remaining in the game, the lights went out on the four center towers putting the part of the field between the twenty yard-lines into complete darkness. Despite the confusion caused by the light malfunction, the first game at the stadium was considered a huge success.

Miami Herald front page on December 10, 1937, the day that Roddey Burdine Stadium was dedicated

Figure 4: Miami Herald front page on December 10, 1937, the day that Roddey Burdine Stadium was dedicated

Roddey Burdine Stadium Dedicated

Shortly after the completion of the Municipal Stadium, Miami city commissioners voted unanimously to honor the late Roddey Burdine, the merchant prince and former president of Burdine’s Department Store, by renaming the stadium in his honor with a resolution issued on August 4, 1937. The decree stated “Mr. Burdine … was ever faithful in his efforts to build up and preserve a high standard of athletics and sports in this community and his long and faithful service should be commemorated by a suitable and appropriate memorial.”

Burdine died unexpectedly on February 15, 1936, but was as pivotal in the creation and early promotion of the Orange Bowl game as Earnie Seiler. Both men understood the value a big event like a New Year’s Day football game would mean for tourism after a decade of economic malaise following the building bust of the 1920s.

The ‘dedication’ game, also played at night under the lights, pitted the University of Miami Hurricanes against the powerhouse Georgia Bulldogs on Friday evening, December 10, 1937. Prior to the dedication ceremony, the city commission authorized the engineering department to prepare a bronze plate to be placed at the entrance of the stadium designating it as “Roddey Burdine Orange Bowl.”

During the opening ceremony, which was officiated by Colonel Horatio Hackett, the man who was responsible for getting approval from the federal government to fund the project, the stadium was officially dedicated to the memory of Roddey Burdine. Lillian Burdine, Roddey’s widow, was in attendance to accept the honor. In a dramatic moment during this event, the lights were turned off so that President Franklin D. Roosevelt could push a button from a thousand miles away to officially light the stadium.

Despite all of the excitement around the launch of a new stadium, the morning headline in the Miami Herald on the next day read: “Bulldogs Submerge Our Hurricanes”, after the University of Miami lost to Georgia by a score of 26-0. Although it was a difficult opening game for the Hurricane football program at what would become their long-time home, there would be plenty of great memories for the University of Miami gridiron faithful within the confines of this arena over the next seven decades.

Aerial of Roddey Burdine Stadium on January 1, 1940 during the Orange Bowl Game

Figure 5: Aerial of Roddey Burdine Stadium on January 1, 1940, during the Orange Bowl Game

First Stadium Enlargement in 1945

By the spring of 1944, Roddey Burdine Stadium seating was not keeping up with demand. The stadium advisory committee for the Orange Bowl offered a proposal to increase the size of the stadium by adding 10,000 seats to the west end of the bowl to match the configuration on the east end of the venue. In addition, the plan called for an additional 7,000 seats by adding rows to each of the existing sections of the stadium. Overall, the plan was to expand the seating capacity by 17,000 seats. Chairman of the advisory committee, A.A. (Art) Unger was quoted in the Miami Herald in an article describing the plan on April 28, 1944, when he said, “I think a stadium of 40,000 is plenty large for Miami for many years to come.” That sentiment would change a few years later.

Because the expansion was planned during World War II, when there was tight control over the allocation of steel and cement, there was concern about how long it would take to actually start construction. Ultimately, contractors were able to procure enough steel and cement to add 11,700 new seats, mostly by adding permanent seating in the west end zone. The project was estimated to cost between $100,000 and $200,000 prior to the start of the venture, but it is not clear what the actual cost was once construction was completed. The enlargement project was finished by the fall of 1945 and brought the seating capacity of Burdine Stadium from 23,330 to 35,030. During the first big game after the renovation, the stadium was able to support an attendance of 35,709 fans for the Orange Bowl played on January 1, 1946, when the University of Miami defeated #13 ranked Holy Cross by a score of 13 – 6.

Rendition of a new Orange Bowl Stadium published in the Miami Daily News on December 4, 1945

Figure 6: Rendition of the proposed new Orange Bowl Stadium published in the Miami Daily News on December 4, 1945

New Stadium, New Location Considered

When the stadium advisory board was planning for a stadium enlargement in 1944, Miami city commissioners had a different idea. During advisory board meetings throughout the course of 1944, a different commissioner would drop in to advocate for a new stadium at a new location. The city commission took a bold step when they ‘condemned’, the action to allow a municipality to take property via eminent domain, a 130-acre tract located on the northeast corner of Douglas Road and Coral Way, near the Coral Gables city line, on December 10, 1944. This tract of land is where the Coral Gables Sear’s store opened in 1954.

When the condemnation notice was announced by city manager A.B. Curry, the description of purpose for eminent domain was: “Purchase of the property has been advocated for use as a recreation center and site for a future Orange Bowl Stadium to seat 75,000 to 100,000 persons.” There was an architectural rendering of a proposed 56,000 seat stadium, designed by Steward and Skinner, that was published in the Miami Daily News on December 4, 1945. The city had hoped to negotiate a purchase directly from the owner, David H. Clark from Orangeburg, New York, but he never answered any of the correspondence sent from the city manager’s office. The condemnation proceedings lingered into 1946, but was ultimately dropped by the city.

However, the 130-acre tract next to the Coral Gables city line was not the only location the city manager had in mind for a potential new stadium. In 1946, Curry recommended that the city condemn a 320-acre tract of land located between Douglas and LeJeune Roads (east to west boundary), and from N.W. Seventh Street to the Tamiami Canal (south to north boundary), for a combination of purposes including a municipal golf course, incinerator, and new Orange Bowl Stadium. Once again, the idea was considered too ambitious and was dropped, allowing the city to shift their focus to enlarging the existing Burdine Stadium. The northern portion of the 320-acre tract was later developed into LeJeune Golf Course in 1962, but was renamed to Mel Reese Golf Course in 1973.

While the city manager and commissioners were keen on the idea of building a new stadium, Miami’s mayor, Palmer Perrine Jr., president of the Orange Bowl committee, George Whitten, chairman of the stadium advisory board, A.A. Unger, and Earnie Seiler, who was an executive director of the Orange Bowl Committee as this time, were not enthused about the idea of trying to build a new stadium. Given the cost of construction and land acquisition, building material scarcity coming out of the war, and the time it would take to construct a new stadium and dispose of the existing stadium, they came to the realization that the project would take years to complete. They were more interested in what can be accomplished for the 1947 Orange Bowl game which was played on January 1, 1948. In the end, the new stadium cost was estimated at $1.329 million which kept the project from getting any serious footing beyond the attempted acquisition of property by eminent domain.

Aerial of Roddey Burdine Stadium during the halftime show of the Orange Bowl on January 1, 1948

Figure 7: Aerial of Roddey Burdine Stadium during the halftime show of the Orange Bowl on January 1, 1948

Upper Deck Constructed in 1947

Once all the investigation and talk about a new stadium subsided, the city leaders and committee members unified on the idea of enlarging the existing stadium. As early as January of 1946, the city was interested in understanding how Roddey Burdine stadium could be redesigned to provide for a double deck that would add 22,000 seats to the bowl. They reached out to the structural engineering firm of Jorgenson and Schreffler to aid their engineers in designing the reconfiguration. One of the goals of the renovation was to have it completed in time for the 1946 Orange Bowl Game (played on January 1, 1947).

The city requested bids from general contractors by March of 1946, and appeared to be on pace for their very aggressive timeline of completing the renovation by the end of December. However, after reviewing the bids and doing a financial analysis, Curry recommended that the city reject all bids. This decision put the stadium expansion plan out of reach for the 1946 Orange Bowl game, but the city would revisit the idea after that game.

Following the game played on January 1, 1947, the city once again pursued collecting bids and arranging for financing to pursue their plan to enlarge Burdine Stadium by adding a second deck. However, on Friday, February 7, 1947, the new city manager, R.G. Danner, was informed by the Civilian Production Administration (CPA), a federal agency that was responsible for approving civilian projects that involved key building materials such as steel and cement, that their application to enlarge the stadium was rejected. The CPA was an agency established by the Truman administration in 1945 to replace the War Production Board to help manage the supply of critical building materials from post-World War II until the end of the Korean War.

The city leaders solicited the help of the U.S. Congressman, George Smathers, and U.S. Senator, Claude Pepper, to meet with their contacts in Washington and see if they could help with the project. Both agreed to help get the application approved so that the project could continue. As it turned out, the CPA’s rejection of the plan was based on an earlier application, and once the agency reviewed the new application, with revised material requirements, CPA officials approved the project allowing the addition of a second level and renovation of the stadium. The announcement was made by Earl J. Robbins, CPA district manager, on Friday, March 21, 1947, which still provided enough time for the work to be completed by the end of the year.

In addition to reviewing the most current application, the CPA conducted a thorough survey of labor conditions in South Florida which showed that the volume of construction projected for the area was well below the level needed to keep all local construction workers employed. The survey also showed the district manager that all materials to be used in the project were readily available in Florida. The original application included a number of what the CPA considered ‘critical materials’, but the subsequent application stripped the project of these materials and only requested a steel and concrete framework.

The official ground breaking for the renovations was officiated by Mayor Perrine Palmer at 11:00am on June 18, 1947. The shipment of steel was delayed by nearly two months, and by October the general contractor, Gust K. Newberg, advised the city that he would institute a 24-hour, 7 days a week, work program in order to complete the project before the end of the year. As of October 19, 1947, the project was considered a month behind schedule.

By mid-December, the construction of a second deck inspired many to show up to the job site to watch progress. There were as many as 400 spectators showing up to the stadium every day to witness history. Danner, the city manager, issued a decree barring citizens from congregating at the stadium until the construction project was completed. Workers were putting in 70-hour shifts to finish the work and some of the onlookers would walk up to the construction site, tap on the shoulder of a worker, and inquire whether he thought the seats would be completed by New Year’s day. This happened on a daily basis until spectators were barred from the stadium.

By December 19, the general contractor assured the city and Orange Bowl committee that the stadium will be ready before the end of the year. True to his word, Newburg turned over the completed project to the city on December 28, 1947. The project added 24,548 seats and expanded the seating capacity from 35,030 to 59,578 which allowed the 1947 Orange Bowl game, played on January 1, 1948, to set an attendance record as a sellout crowd witnessed Georgia Tech defeat University of Kansas by a score of 20 – 14. The total estimated cost of the enlargement renovation was $1,211,046 according to an article published in the Miami Daily News on March 21, 1947.

Roddey Burdine Stadium on February 26, 1946, when Winston Churchill received an honorary Juris Doctorate from University of Miami

Figure 8: Roddey Burdine Stadium on February 26, 1946, when Winston Churchill received an honorary Juris Doctorate from University of Miami

Eventful Year in 1946

During its first decade in existence, Burdine stadium was more than just a football venue. The building hosted boxing matches, Easter sunrise service, and concerts such as the “Opera Under the Stars” series in the early 1940s. One of the biggest non-sports events to take place in the stadium was when Winston Churchill was awarded an honorary Juris Doctorate from the University of Miami in a special ceremony on Tuesday, February 26, 1946.

There were 17,500 spectators that filed into Roddey Burdine Stadium to get a glimpse of the former Prime Minister of England, and to hear him share his thoughts on education. He thanked the University for the honor and for hosting the members of the Royal Air Force who got their training at the University of Miami campus during the war years.

His comments were insightful and focused on education. The degree that was presented to him on that day was not his first ad honorem following the conclusion of the war. He began his remarks with the following observation:

“I am surprised that in my later life I should become so experienced in taking degrees, when, as a schoolboy, I was so bad at passing examinations. In fact, one might almost say that no one ever passed so few examinations and received so many degrees.”

However, despite the enthusiasm for other events, football was center stage during the stadium’s first decade. It was also in 1946 when the Miami Seahawks, a professional football franchise for the All-American Football Conference team awarded to South Florida that year, played their one and only season in Burdine Stadium. Due to sparse attendance and financial struggles, the team was moved to Baltimore after that one fateful season.

Amateur football was the far bigger draw during the stadium’s early years. The venue was University of Miami’s home field from the first dedication ceremonies until its final years. The big local high school football games were played on this field. As an example, on Tuesday, November 26, the number one rated Catholic football team, Boys Town from Omaha, Nebraska, traveled to Miami to play Saint Peter & Paul High School for a ‘mythological’ national Catholic-league championship match. Boys Town prevailed easily by the score of 46 – 6, but the game was one of many national matchups between great high school teams from different parts of the country traveling to Miami to settle unofficial national championship bragging rights.

Miami, Jackson, Edison, Ponce de Leon all played their biggest rivals at Burdine Stadium during the stadium’s first ten years. The annual matchup between Edison and Miami High became an annual Thanksgiving evening tradition. Great games and plenty of memories were made during these early years, which foreshadowed what spectators could expect to watch over the next six decades on the hallow grounds of the fabled Orange Bowl Stadium, which is what it was officially renamed in its second decade.

Preview of Next Ten Years

While the reconfigurations of the early to mid-1940s allowed Roddey Burdine Stadium to grow to meet the demand for larger Orange Bowl games, more change was in store during the venue’s second decade from 1948 – 1957. The city continued to expand the stadium seating capacity from 59,578 (as it was after the 1947 enlargement project), to slightly more than 76,000 by 1957. Key members of the stadium advisory and Orange Bowl committees pushed the city to continue to modernize and grow the stadium in order to remain competitive with other bowl games.

The stadium would welcome a new official name in 1949, and entertained a modification of that name again in 1953. By the mid-1950s, Earnie Seiler began a campaign to rededicate the stadium to honor Dade County residents who lost their lives during the wars of the prior forty years. He would continue to promote this idea until his passing in 1987.

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  • Book: “Fifty Years on the Fifty: The Orange Bowl Story”, by the Orange Bowl Committee, 1983
  • Miami Tribune: “Bowl Named After Burdine”, August 5, 1937.
  • Miami News: “Burdine Stadium Dedication Plans Get Under Way”, November 14, 1937.
  • Miami Herald: “President Roosevelt to Light Roddey Burdine – Orange Bowl Stadium”, December 10, 1937.
  • Miami News: “Col. Hackett Ends His Work When Stadium is Dedicated”, December 10, 1937.
  • Miami Herald: “Bulldogs Submerge Our Hurricanes”, December 11, 1937.
  • Miami Herald: “Propose Enlargement of Orange Bowl Soon”, April 28, 1944.
  • Miami Herald: “City Moves To Condemn Bowl Site”, December 10, 1944.
  • Miami Herald: “Decision Due Today on Extra Seats”, June 5, 1945.
  • Miami Herald: “Mayor Favors Enlarging Orange Bowl Stadium Soon”, September 23, 1945.
  • Miami Herald: “Sewage Plant Golf Course Under Fire”, February 14, 1946.
  • Miami News: “Churchill Receives U of Miami Degree”, by Milt Sosin on February 26, 1946.
  • Miami Daily News: “Engineers Aid Asked in Redesigning Stadium”, January 17, 1946.
  • Miami Herald: “City May Let Contract Today for Bowl Work”, March 1, 1946.
  • Miami Herald: “City Vetoes Orange Bowl Enlargement”, March 6, 1946.
  • Miami Herald: “Stadium Enlargement Temporarily Shelved on Orders from CPA”, February 8, 1947.
  • Miami Daily News: “Smathers Seeks to Aid Bowl Enlargement”, February 8, 1947.
  • Miami Herald: “Danner Plans Appeal on Bowl Ruling”, February 9, 1947.
  • Miami Daily News: “Orange Bowl Project Ok’d”, March 21, 1947.
  • Miami Herald: “Ceremonies Today Start Stadium Work”, June 18, 1947.
  • Miami Herald: “24-Hour Set for Bowl Enlargement”, October 19, 1947.
  • Miami Daily News: “All 58,700 Stadium Seats to be Ready by Jan 1”, December 19, 1947.
  • Miami Herald: “Double-Decking Task Will Be Completed for Game”, December 28, 1947.


  • Cover: Roddey Burdine Stadium in September of 1937. Courtesy of HistoryMiami Museum.
  • Figure 1: Earnie Seiler and his secretary, Helen Brammer, during the early years of the Orange Bowl. Courtesy of HistoryMiami Museum.
  • Figure 2: Wooden stadium that preceded Roddey Burdine Stadium from 1935 – 1937. Courtesy of HistoryMiami Museum.
  • Figure 3: Aerial of Roddey Burdine Stadium and Miami Field on January 17, 1947. Courtesy of Florida State Archives.
  • Figure 4: Miami Herald front page on December 10, 1937, the day that Roddey Burdine Stadium was dedicated. Courtesy of the Miami Herald.
  • Figure 5: Aerial of Roddey Burdine Stadium on January 1, 1940, during the Orange Bowl Game. Courtesy of Florida State Archives.
  • Figure 6: Rendition of the proposed new Orange Bowl Stadium published in the Miami Daily News on December 4, 1945. Courtesy of the Miami News.
  • Figure 7: Aerial of Roddey Burdine Stadium during the halftime show of the Orange Bowl on January 1, 1948. Courtesy of Florida State Archives.
  • Figure 8: Roddey Burdine Stadium on February 26, 1946, when Winston Churchill received an honorary Juris Doctorate from University of Miami. Courtesy of Casey Piket.