ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) – As football season winds down, now is a good time to reflect on the sports center that once stood in the center of the Star City, Victory Stadium.
Local high schools and nearby colleges would compete at the stadium previously standing in front of the now Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital that held up to 25,000 fans.
The stadium first opened in 1942, going on to later host more than 100 collegiate football games.
The stadium hosted NFL preseason games, wrestling tournaments, car races, and Roanoke minor league teams. Annual traditions such as the Harvest Bowl and Thanksgiving game between VMI and Virginia Tech took place for 27 years.
Wrestling matches were center stage in the 1950s with some fans being given the option of sitting in the stands or in ringside seats on the field. In 1961, several NFL preseason games including the Colts and Steelers took place in the Star City.
While many Roanoke residents remember Victory Stadium, the stadium was immortalized across the United States through the movie “Remember the Titans” that showcased the 1971 high school football state championship game between Andrew Lewis and T.C. Williams at Victory Stadium.
Local colleges and universities eventually held games at their school campuses with the last college events being the Virginia Education Classics.
The Classics consisted of HBCUs going head to head with ticket sales being donated to TAP’s initiative to curb school dropout rates. The final collegiate game was held at in October 2005 as St. Paul’s College beat Shaw University.
Victory Stadium was torn down in 2006 due to the diminishing condition of the stands and field. However, the memory of the once lively stadium lives on in the memory of many Star City folks.
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