What’s Wrong With This Photo?

1960 Plan For New Football Field at Horlick Athletic Field.

Proposed New Horlick Athletic Field Football Proposal from June, 1960. (Click for larger image.)

What do you notice about this photo? In 1960, the redesign of Horlick Athletic Field was to keep the baseball field where it was and build the football field outside the west wall. Neighbors on Carlisle Avenue balked at the idea.

The city would debate the issue for a couple more years before deciding that the new football field should be where Humble Park is currently located. The alderman and neighbors in that area shot down that idea as well.

The entire city agreed that a dedicated football field was needed but nobody wanted it in their neighborhood. The Racine Journal News said the only place to build a new football field was at Horlick Athletic Field.

There was even a proposal by the Chamber of Commerce to build a huge sports concourse at Durand Avenue and Green Bay Road that would include a 10,000 seat football stadium and a 6,500 capacity fieldhouse. There was major concern with four high schools in the community and Case High School coming soon that there weren’t enough athletic facilities in the city and the ones that Racine had were highly inadequate. Instead of being complementary to what the city was doing, city leaders took it as competition.

County Concourse

Proposed County Concourse at Highways 11 and 31 from August, 1962. (Click for larger image.)

Late in 1962, that’s what the city decided to do. The 1960 plan didn’t stick, however. The decision was made to move the baseball field west where it is now and to have the football field in its current location. This appeased the property owners on Carlisle Avenue. The baseball field was planned to be done by July 1, 1963 while the football field along with other amenities would be finished in 1964.

The Racine Journal Times blasted the new concept in a September 15, 1963 editorial.

The present ill-conceived plan for Horlick Field was devised and pushed into the City Council. It called for a $133,000 appropriation over two years, with $34,000 to be spent the first year (1963) primarily on a new baseball field on the west side of the field, with the football field and new dressing room facility to be built in 1964 on the east side, the site of the old baseball park. This was, in fact, an exact reversal of the priority of need, as well as a reversal of the logical location of the two fields. A football field was needed first, and would be used by more people; the baseball field, which this plan placed first, would be only one more among many maintained by the city. Again, this was a response to the political forces that would appease the nearby residents by placing the least used facility nearest them, and the whole plan was supposed to be the city’s competitive answer to the sports concourse plan.

The complete renovation, which included the current concessions stand, locker room, and bathrooms behind the concessions stand, was held on July 3, 1964. The first event was the annual Goodwill drum and bugle corps competition sponsored by the “Boys of ’76” Drum and Bugle Corps. The one complaint following the event was that the facilities, which included seating for 7,500 at the new football field, only had one drinking fountain.

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