Today in NC State History: They paved paradise and …

April 19, 2012
By Bill Krueger

PrintThe first football game played in Riddick Stadium, in the heart of NC State’s campus, took place in 1907. NC State beat Randolph-Macon, 20-0.

NC State had played football for years before that, either in Pullen Park or at the State Fairgrounds. But alumni and faculty members raised money to build the university its own stadium, complete with wooden bleachers and a grandstand.

riddickaerialIn 1912, students voted to name the new stadium for Wallace Carl Riddick, who in addition to being NC State’s first football coach, was at various times a professor of civil engineering, dean of the School of Engineering and president of the university.

As any modern sports fan knows, stadiums are built to be replaced by bigger and fancier stadiums later. So, on this day in 1968, much of Riddick Stadium was demolished to make room for more parking on campus. Yes, parking.

The destruction was handled by The Rike Company of Winston-Salem for $18,000. The demolition was not without incident, as workers one day discovered what appeared to be a body in some of the rubble. It turned out to be a fake torso and legs, complete with blood-red paint, that was presumably placed there by some students, according to an account in Historical State, an archive maintained by NCSU Libraries.

riddick-fakedeath

University officials check out "the body" found in Riddick Stadium rubble

A new stadium to replace Riddick was built with funds raised by the Wolfpack Club and through the sale of bonds. The initial donations came from brothers Nick and Harry Carter, while the single largest donation came from A.E. Finley, according to an account in Alice Elizabeth Reagan’s North Carolina State University: A Narrative History.

And, thus, Carter-Finley Stadium was born, opening in time for the 1966 football season.

The demolition of Riddick was not completed for years, with the West Stands staying up until 2005 to  make room for a building for mathematics and statistics.

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