The George Dilboy Memorial Stadium: Somerville’s Multi-Purpose Recreational Facility

Situated in the city of Somerville, the multi-purpose sports stadium of George Dilboy Memorial Stadium was originally opened in 1955. After falling into disrepair in the early 2000s, the stadium was rebuilt in 2006 to become the stadium that it is today.

The History of the George Dilboy Memorial Stadium

Named for George Dilboy, who resided in Somerville and was awarded the Medal of Honor during World War I, the Dilboy Stadium hosted its first match on October 8, 1955. This event, a football match between Somerville High School and Medford High School, opened to a capacity of 5,000 spectators. Prior to the construction of the stadium, the Somerville High School football team had not played a home game since 1942. The resulting reduction in the football program’s income contributed to pressure for building a stadium.

Plans for the construction of the stadium date back to 20 years prior to its construction, but progress was delayed for a variety of reasons. Two of the biggest obstacles were World War II and a 1950 federal ban placed on the construction of recreational facilities. After several failed fundraisers, the stadium finally got its feet off of the ground when John F. Kennedy helped to allocate steel from the National Production Authority in 1952. Ultimately, the stadium was constructed as the result of a partnership between the City of Somerville and the Metropolitan District Commission. Each organization contributed $20,000 to the effort.

A Rebuilding Period

Following a period of disrepair, State Senator Charlie Shannon lobbied to demolish and replace the stadium. The $8 million funding was part of the state budget ultimately approved by Governor Mitt Romney.  Senator Shannon died prior to the completion of the stadium’s construction, but plans moved forward and the replacement stadium was opened in September 2006.

The stadium as it stands today was designed by Bargmann Hendrie + Archetype Inc of Boston. With a 2,000-seat capacity, the stadium measures over 17,000 square feet in size and boasts a 10,000-square foot grandstand. The concession building, which features storage and a garage, is 2,600 square feet while the team room measures 2,100 square feet in size.

Currently, Dilboy Stadium serves as a venue for football, soccer and running. From 2008 to 2014, it served as the home to the Boston Militia of the Women’s Football Alliance League. The Boston Breakers women’s soccer club also utilized the stadium in 2012 and 2013. The stadium is now home to the New England Football League’s Somerville Rampage and the Women’s Football Alliance’s Boston Renegades.

Operated and staffed by the city of Somerville, the stadium is also designed to be open or closed in various places in order to be used for different purposes. For example, part of the stadium can be opened to allow local residents to run or walk on the track, while other parts can be opened so the stadium can be used to host high school sporting events.

Boasting a central playing surface comprised of a 100-yard synthetic turf football and soccer field, the field features a standard 400-meter eight-lane running track and an adjustable lighting system that can be set at different levels to suit various activities. While the synthetic surface reduces downtown due to maintenance, the artificial lighting maximizes programming options within the stadium.

 

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