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Look around Lambeau, see the history

Jul. 10, 2012 6:00 PM
 
Reggie White is the most recent Pro Football Hall of Famer to be honored on the facade of the seating bowl at Lambeau Field. File/Press-Gazette
Reggie White is the most recent Pro Football Hall of Famer to be honored on the facade of the seating bowl at Lambeau Field. File/Press-Gazette

Did you know?

The Packers have played at three other sites for home games in Green Bay: Hagemeister Park (1919-1922), Bellevue Park (1923-1924), and City Stadium, next to Green Bay East High School (1925-1956).

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Lambeau Field was rich with history before the most recent renovations began in 2001. After all, this was the home field for coach Vince Lombardi’s five championship teams: 1961, 1962, 1965, 1966 and 1967.

The names in gold letters around the top of the stadium saluted the Packers players and coaches who are members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, now numbering 21. Also displayed are the dates of the Packers’ record 13 championships.

At the time of the newest renovations, the Packers decided to pack Lambeau Field with more tributes to the team's storied history.

They include:

• Lombardi’s door: Mike Sherman, then the Packers' coach, asked that the original door frame from Lombardi’s office be salvaged — it was embedded in a remodeled wall — and used as the door frame to his new office.

• Tunnel of champions: A strip of concrete slabs from the original tunnel on the stadium’s north end was installed in the new south end-zone tunnel, set off by brick tiles.

• Towering figures: Statues of the two dominant figures in Packers history — founding coach Curly Lambeau and Glory Years coach Vince Lombardi —greet visitors outside the entrance to the Atrium. The main entrance plaza where the statues stand has been named the Robert E. Harlan Plaza.

• Taste of greatness: The banquet rooms on the fourth level of the Atrium bear the names of Packers greats: halfback Johnny “Blood” McNally, quarterback Bart Starr, halfback Paul Hornung and defensive end Willie Davis.

• Memorable numbers: The names and numbers of the four legendary players whose jersey numbers are retired have been placed in the north end zone: end Don Hutson, halfback Tony Canadeo, linebacker Ray Nitschke, defensive end Reggie White and Starr.

• Hallowed hallway: The hall outside the players’ locker room is a shrine to Packers greatness. Replicas of the three Super Bowl trophies (appropriately known as the Lombardi Trophy) are placed there, and banners representing the 13 national championship teams are suspended from the ceiling. Black-and-white photos of the NFL Hall of Famers hang on the hallway walls. “From the moment a player walks into the building, the tradition and what this franchise stands for hits them,” Harlan said.

The renovations have added some history of their own, too.

A 40-foot steel beam at the top of the Atrium, raised in December 2001 as part of a topping-out ceremony, bears the signatures of dozens of workers. It’s a salute to those who worked on the renovation project.

Updated July 2012

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If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

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