Completed in 1938, Hoquiam Olympic Stadium is a heavy-timber utilitarian structure built to house over 10,000 baseball and football fans. Due to alterations, today the stadium can seat up to 7,500 people. Standing the test of time, the structure still retains its original use and function. It is located east of the downtown core of the City of Hoquiam, Washington and is owned by the city, which leases the facility to the school district, college and youth organizations for sporting events.
The stadium lies on a 9.2-acre site which is used for a variety of purposes. Besides the large wooden Olympic Stadium, also on site are two concrete block concession/restroom facilities, two maintenance/storage buildings, batting cages and two small little league baseball diamonds with their own grandstands. The parcel is bounded on the south side by Cherry Street, and on the north by a steep tree-covered hill, known as Beacon Hill. To the west is 28th Street, and to the east is the Washington Elementary School. Also on site, just west of the stadium proper is an asphalt parking area.
The City of Hoquiam originally bought the property in 1929 for a public playfield adding to its size in 1938 and 1953. Construction of the facility started on May 23, 1938 and was officially completed in March of 1939.....VIEW HISTORIC OLYMPIC STADIUM PHOTO GALLERY
An Impressive and Imposing Structure
The physical structure of the Olympic Stadium is an old growth fir heavy-timber frame with cedar shingle siding. Built in a truncated U-shape with angled corners, the open portion of the 2 ½ story grandstand faces east. This orientation was used so that fans and players would be somewhat sheltered from the wind and rain coming off the Pacific Ocean, which lies just 18 miles to the west. The grandstand has a modified hipped roof with composition asphalt shingles. The eaves of the large timber trusses are boxed-in. A large shallow hip roof entrance portico shelters visitors on the southwest corner of the structure where the ticket booths and main doors are located. The timber frame rests on concrete footings.
The stadium measures approximate 390’ feet on the south wing, 75’ feet on the north wing, and 380’ feet on the west wing. Each wing is 40’ feet wide and rises to a height of approximately 30 feet. Decorative details on the exterior street façade are limited to rows of cedar shingles, door openings and signage. The south and west elevations have three newer aluminum doors and no windows. Under the entrance portico are seven doors, which allow access to the interior of the stadium, mechanical space and ticket booths. Four windows, which are covered with plywood when not in use, serve as the ticket windows.
Above the entrance portico, arranged in an arch, is large lettering which spells “Olympic Stadium”. The letters, made from half round moldings are 31” inches in height and approximately 25” inches in width depending on the letter. Below the lettering is a round logo for Hoquiam High School denoting that the stadium is “Home of the Grizzlies”......VIEW HISTORIC OLYMPIC STADIUM PHOTO GALLERY
At each ends of the stadium are newer concrete handicap ramps, and rollup garage-style doors. The field portion of the stadium is generally open. Plain wooden seating extends up 13 rows. Regularly spaced 8” X 8” posts at 8’0” orc., are found 1/3 of the way up the bleachers to support the roof. The first row of seating begins approximately three feet above the ground giving the fans a good overall view of the field. Here a three-foot-wide walkway with wooden railings runs across the entire field in front of the stadium. Below this raised first row of seating on both the south and west facades, were dugouts for the teams. The south wing dugouts, used for the football teams have since been removed.
Hanging from the rafters on the south wing is the original press box. It is three bays long and is accessed by open wood stairs which leads to the bleachers. The original broadcasting booth for radio transmission in the northwest corner, was replaced in the early 1980’s with a new compatible wooden structure.
Originally used to access the various seating sections within the grandstands, the large spaces under the stadium are mainly closed to the public. Under the west wing is a contemporary office, and various storage and mechanical rooms. A restroom and locker room are also here but are used by the management staff and are not open to the public.
The fields for the stadium are aligned east to west with the football field on the south side. Adjacent to it on the north side is the baseball field, used for minor league and semi-pro players
Former Grizzles Instrumental in Stadium Build
Former HHS football standout Dick Graham is largely the individual responsible for the existence of Olympic Stadium. As the Works Progress Administration administrator for Grays Harbor in the 1930’s, Graham used his influence in that role and as a Hoquiam Park Board member to solicit for a new stadium to be built by the WPA. He was in no small part aided by the state WPA Administrator Don Abel who also played football at Hoquiam High years before. The project employed nearly 400 men continuously for four months during 1938.
The workforce included 5 foremen, 160 carpenters, 25 helpers, 200 laborers. The name for the new stadium was chosen from submissions in a community-wide contest – Stanley Erickson’s Olympic getting the winning nod. The stadium was dedicated at the annual Thanksgiving Day Aberdeen-Hoquiam football game on November 24, 1938...DOWNLOAD PROGRAM FROM 1938 THANKSGIVING DAY GAME