It’s now called Darryl K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium, but the original incarnation of the Longhorns’ ancestral home dates all the way back to 1924, when it was dedicated as a memorial to the 198,520 Texans who fought in the First World War — 5,280 of whom lost their lives. At that time the capacity was but 27,000, and to show just how rustic it was on that dedication day, they didn’t even get around to laying down the grass until the next year. “Three yards and a cloud of dust” was more than a hackneyed cliché on that opening afternoon.
From that humble beginning one of the nation’s finest sports venues has emerged, with a capacity that’s nearly quadrupled over the past 88 years. It will be the biggest in the country when the proposed latest additions are funded and completed. But whether at 27,000 or 125,000, the “Memorial” part has never been forgotten, as each year a home game is designated Veterans Recognition Day, in honor of our servicemen and servicewomen past and present. This spirit can be seen on the cover of the original game day dedication program, with the bayonet-bearing doughboy of World War I forming the background to the football player in the front.
Of course no UT dedication day would be complete without the presence of the Aggies of Texas A&M, and so naturally these two great rivals provided the on-field action on this 1924 Thanksgiving Day. But it’s also true that no dedication game would have been complete without a Texas victory, and before an overflow crowd of 35,000 wildly cheering fans, the Longhorns’ Stookie Allen scored a fourth quarter “immaculate reception” touchdown off a deflected pass, and it stood up for what was surely one of the sweetest wins in the stadium’s 88-year run.
Click here to buy a poster of this program cover.