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OSU Buildings Histories in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center

Building History

A black and white image of Bell Field.

In 1913, the Oregon Agricultural College established an athletic field on what is now the site of the Dixon Recreation Center. Originally, the field was used for both football and track and field. In 1921, it was named Bell Field in honor of Reverend John R.N. Bell, who had served on the college’s board of trustees and board of regents, and was also an avid football fan. The capacity of the first stands was 3,000 spectators; in 1920, a "covered grandstand was added...on the west sideline to increase capacity to 7,000." In 1924, a two-story stands at the south end of the field was constructed, bringing capacity to 18,000; Bell Field's final approximate capacity was 21,000.

The facility was used for football until 1953, when Parker Stadium opened. At that time the grandstands at Bell Field were demolished. Bell Field continued to be used for track and field competitions until 1974, when Patrick Wayne Valley Field opened. The various phases of the Dixon Recreation Center were completed on the Bell Field site between 1976 and 2004.

General Information


425 SW 26th St, Corvallis, OR 97331



Year Built



1920, 1924, 1947

Square Footage

approximately 21,000 seats


Athletic events (football and track and field)

Previous Name(s)



Reverend John R.N. Bell

Historic District





Oregon State University Campus Maps, 1894-1994


Football Photograph Collection, 1894-2000; Track and Field Photograph Collection, 1900 - circa 1960; James G. Arbuthnot Photograph Collection, 1909-1915; Richard W. Gilkey Photographs, 1947-2005; OSU Band Photographs, 1892-1998

Further Archival Information

SCARC: The Special Collections and Archives Research Center holdings include personal papers, photographs, and university records documenting the history of Bell Field.

Oregon Digital: Digital content documenting the history of Bell Field includes over 100 images, and well over 2000 textual documents.