Early years

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(Image: East bleachers of Ohio Field, 1907) Early organized sports at OSU were dedicated to speed: Foot races at OSU date to 1877; the first bicycle races to 1886. A quarter-mile track ran from the present site of the Chemistry complex south to 17th Avenue. By 1890 a multi-use field for track, football and baseball had been constructed west of Neil Avenue and south of the present-day Stadium site. Track and field, understandably more popular than football, outgrew the field; over the course of the decade, OSU held ad-hoc meets at the State Fairgrounds and at Driving Park. On November 1, 1890, Ohio State’s first home football game was held on a field in German Village where the Buckeyes suffered a 64-to-0 drubbing by the College of Wooster. Within a decade, though, the team was playing on campus. In 1896, the University built its first gymnasium, the Armory, and the first campus football game was held at Ohio Field, at High and Woodruff, in 1898. The field was officially christened during the height of the temperance movement, in 1908: wielding a flask of spring water, Mrs. Estelle Clark Thompson, wife of University President William Oxley Thompson, formally dedicated Ohio Field to “clean athletics."