Well, it’s awkward, for both sides. That’s probably why it doesn’t make it into the histories. But I prefer to think it a harder pill for Bama to swallow, to have to know about. Yes, they were here, a lot of them, taking part in what you think would have been, should have been the most Bama-free moment in the history of Jordan-Hare Stadium: It’s first game and dedication. And they were very visible.
But they paid to be here. They paid big. We jacked up the price, took their money, and we used it to build a literal foundation for Auburn football.
The first (varsity) game at Auburn Stadium was a hot ticket. No one got in for free–not the governor, not the coach, not even his George Petrie himself. Because Auburn needed the money. I know, you’re like “I thought the Feds paid for the stadium?” Well, they helped pay for it. The PWA or WPA or whichever Alphabet Soup group it was at the time handed over somewhere in the neighborhood of $60,000. Auburn had to raise the remaining $100,000. A ton came from private Auburn alumni donations, and a good bit came from ticket sales.
And around $500 came from Bama fans.
Celebrating your cross-state rival’s stadium dedication not from a distance with a congrats card, but up close and personal with a five dollar bill? That’s wacky. But it’s the sort of pigskin protocol that reigned once upon a time, when contempt for The Others was sewn with sarcasm in occasional student editorials, not with Spike 80DF (sure, not actually being cross-state rivals at the time, at least actively, on the gridiron, probably helped).
A week before Auburn Stadium was christened, the Montgomery Chapter of the Alabama Alumni Society (the Crimson Tide chapter, they called it) bought a block of 100 souvenir, fund-raising tickets to the Auburn-Florida game and sold them for five bucks a piece–adjusted for inflation, that’s nearly $60, more than double the cost general admission–and only to Bama grads. These weren’t just any seats. One hundred “Alabama men” sat in a special section at the 50 yard line. How did they know where to sit? Because the Montgomery Chapter of the Auburn Alumni Association and the Auburn Athletic Department made sure to decorate the section… in Alabama colors. They sat there surrounded by crimson and white and they cheered for Auburn.
The Auburn band even added the Buck Fifty Band’s Bama fight song du jour, Alabama Swing, to its halftime repertoire.
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More 75 years of Jordan-Hare Stories
* The almost names of Jordan-Hare Stadium
* Rare shot of ‘Hare Stadium’
* Poor communication by official cost Auburn a win over Florida in first game played in Jordan-Hare Stadium
* The original capacity of Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium was twice as much as everyone says
* How FDR’s ‘Franksgiving’ fiasco nearly spoiled the dedication of Auburn Stadium