Pennsylvania Highways
Veterans Stadium Implosion



What goes up must come down, as the saying goes.  Well, what took from 1967 to 1971 to go up only took 60 seconds to come down.  On March 21, 2004 at 7:00 AM, Veterans Stadium was imploded after 33 years of operation.  It was replaced in 2003 by the new home of the Philadelphia Eagles, Lincoln Financial Field, and in 2004 by the Philadelphia Phillies' new digs at Citizens Bank Park.

Aerial picture of Veterans Stadium from 1999
Aerial picture of Veterans Stadium from 1999.  (USGS)

The day of the implosion was a very temperate one, being the first day of Spring.  Much warmer than when its contemporary across the state, Three Rivers, was taken down three years earlier.  Even with the Philadelphia Police Department pleading with people not to come view it in person, but rather to stay home and watch it on TV, crowds gathered where ever they could in South Philadelphia.  Yours truly was one of the many on the northern side of the Schuylkill Expressway to view the final moments of Veterans Stadium.

View of the stadium from PA 611/Broad Street on the day of the implosion.
(Jeff Kitsko)
The last scene of Veterans Stadium.  (Jeff Kitsko)
Many helicopters were circling overhead to capture the final moments.  These would
be the only aircraft allowed in the area, due to the airspace being closed during the
implosion.  (Jeff Kitsko)

Around a quarter to seven, Phillies' public address announcer Dan Baker began the ceremony.  At 7 AM, Philadelphia Mayor John Street was joined at the ceremonial red plunger by ex-Phillies' slugger Greg "The Bull" Luzinski, member of the 1980 World Series team, and the Phillie Phanatic, famous mascot of Major League Baseball's Phillies.  It took a little over a minute for the structure to "domino" to the ground into a pile of 70,000 cubic yards of scrap metal and concrete.  Following the final curtain call, Dan Baker returned to the microphone to say to the cheering crowd, "Ladies and gentlemen, you just witnessed history."  Afterwards one onlooker played Taps on a silver trumpet.  Demolition Dynamics who was in charge of the implosion, reported that it went off without any problems. 

The beginning of the end.  The new stadiums, Citizens Bank Park and Lincoln
Financial Field, can be seen on at the near right and far right respectively.
(Jeff Kitsko)
Continuing the "domino" effect beginning and ending on the western side.
(Jeff Kitsko)
The collapse continues with most of the stadium now on the ground.  (Jeff Kitsko)
Veterans Stadium no longer a fixture on the skyline of South Philadelphia, but now
just a memory.  (Jeff Kitsko)

Special thanks to Rita Franco, who allowed me to take pictures of the implosion from her walkway.

Invincible
directed by Ericson Core (2006)

Mark Wahlberg stars as Vince Papale, an Eagles fan who has just lost his wife and his teaching job.  The team holds open tryouts and he decides to show up, only to see his wildest dreams come true.


Tales from the Eagles Sidelines
by Gordon Forbes (2002)

Written by a former sports reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer, who covered the Eagles, the book delves into history of the football team that excites the "City of Brotherly Love" through the fall and winter.


The Phillies Encyclopedia
by Rich Westcott and Frank Bilovsky (2004)

The Phillies have called Philadelphia home since 1883 when the first game was played at Recreation Park at the corner of 24th Street and Ridge Avenue.  However, their history has not always been smooth or one with many victories.

Links:
Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia Phillies
Veterans Stadium
Veterans Stadium - Ballparks by Munsey & Suppes
Veterans Stadium:  History - WCAU-TV


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Page updated May 06, 2008.
Content and graphics, unless otherwise noted, copyright Jeffrey J. Kitsko. All rights reserved.
Information courtesy of the City of Philadelphia Recreation Department, WCAU-TV, and Northeastern Pennsylvania News.