April 22, 1961 Crews work on the new Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine Photo by:Ray Graham/Los Angeles Times

50 Years of Dodger Stadium: Construction


Bulldozers Moving Dirt for Dodger Stadium Construction Photo by: Harry Chase/Los Angeles Times

 

Vinnell Constructors of Alhambra won the contract to grade the site of Dodger Stadium after submitting the lowest bid to the Board of Public Works. On September 3, 1959, the $649,890 contract was drafted.

O’Malley desired for the stadium to be constructed of concrete instead of steel. Jack Yount was the Vinnell Contractor, and he specialized in concrete projects and was familiar with Southern California freeway interchanges. He had no idea that he would be asked to personally supervise the project of building Dodger Stadium. On August 20, 1960, O’Malley signed a contract with Vinnell for the construction of the entire Dodger Stadium project. By not working with multiple sub-contractors, potential delays could be averted.

On September 17, 1959 ground was broken for Dodger Stadium as 3,000 fans watched. While the bulldozers were working on moving and shaping the 8 million cubic yards of earth in Chavez Ravine, the 23,000 concrete members were being cast and erected in the grandstands. The casting was done on site, because of the enormity of the concrete members, especially the 32-ton frames. A specialty built crane lifted and set the pieces in place for the framing of the stadium.

 

Jack Yount explained how strong Dodger Stadium was built to be:

“There is a lot more strength in this stadium than there is in highway bridges,” Yount said. “On this structure, we used almost seven sacks of cement a yard. On freeway bridges, they use five. For paving, they use four or less. So every yard of concrete poured at the stadium cost O’Malley about $1.50 extra just in cement alone. There are about 45,000 yards in the whole stadium.”

On November 22, 1961 the first of 47,964 seats were installed by the American Seating Company. They were constructed of 350,000 feet of lumber, 546 tons of cast iron, and 3 tons of aluminum nuts and bolts. O’Malley actually included the possibility for expansion to 85,000 seats in the stadium plans by expanding the Top Deck over the Reserve Level and outfield Pavilions, but the Dodgers have never attempted such a project.

Constructed lasted from 1959-1962 and cost $23 million. Built with 100% private financing, it was the first since the original Yankee Stadium and the last since AT&T Park opened in 2000.

Before construction was completed, the Dodgers shared the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum  (The Dodgers shared Chavez Ravine with the Angels from 62-65) with the then Los Angeles Angels temporarily from 1958-1961. Even though both the controversy surrounding the treatment of the residents of Chavez Ravine who struggled unsuccessfully for 10 years to keep their land and inclement weather caused Opening Day to be delayed by a year, Dodger Stadium would open it’s gates for the first time on April 10, 1962.

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Tags: Chavez Ravine Jack Yount Los Angeles Angels Los Angeles Dodgers Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Walter O'Malley

  • AliceNakahara

    The Dodgers never shared the Mausoleum with the Angels. The Angels first season was 1961 and they played at Wrigley Field, not the Mausoleum.

  • LasordasLair

    @AliceNakahara

    Good Catch Alice,

    Your correct, the Dodgers shared DS with the Angels not the Coliseum. Oversight has been corrected.

  • AliceNakahara

    The Dodgers never shared the Mausoleum with the Angels. The Angels first season was 1961 and they played at Wrigley Field, not the Mausoleum.

    • LasordasLair

      @AliceNakahara

      Good Catch Alice,

      Your correct, the Dodgers shared DS with the Angels not the Coliseum. Oversight has been corrected.