American Legion Memorial Stadium

American Legion Memorial Stadium is a 17,000-seat stadium located on 7th Street in the Elizabeth community of Charlotte, North Carolina. It is located on a complex with the Grady Cole Center. Both are located next to Central Piedmont Community College. Independence Park Stadium, a tiny public baseball stadium, is also close by. Memorial Stadium is mainly used for high school sporting events and also serves as a public venue. Before the construction of nearby Bank of America Stadium in 1996, Memorial Stadium was Charlotte's largest outdoor stadium, and is still the largest municipal venue in the city.

American Legion Memorial Stadium
Memorial Stadium
American Legion Memorial Stadium.jpg
LocationElizabeth, Charlotte, North Carolina
OwnerCity of Charlotte
OperatorMecklenburg Park & Rec
24,000 (?–2009)
16,000 (2009)
17,000 (2010–2019)
10,500 (from 2021)[2]
SurfaceNatural Grass
Broke groundJanuary 1934
OpenedSeptember 1, 1936
Renovated2010, 2015, 2019-21
Construction cost$35 million (2019 renovation)
Central High School (NCHSAA) (1936–1959)
CC-UNC Owls football (1946)[1]
Charlotte Hornets (WFL) (1974–1975)
Carolina Lightnin' (ASL) (1981–1984)
Myers Park High School Mustangs (NCHSAA) (2012)
Charlotte Hounds (MLL) (2012–2018, 2021–)
JCSU Golden Bulls (some games)
Charlotte Independence (USLC) (2021–future)


Ground was broken on the stadium in 1934 and the gates were officially opened two years later in 1936. Named in honor of local soldiers who fell in World War I, the stadium was a project of the Works Progress Administration.[3]

Throughout the years the stadium hosted events of every kind, ranging from Presidential addresses to classic professional wrestling encounters featuring local hero Ric Flair. The stadium formerly hosted Charlotte (Central) High School (which is now Garinger). For many years afterward, as the city grew and opened more high schools, the stadium was used practically every week during the football season to accommodate both schools which had no campus stadium and large crowds which some campus stadiums could not contain for the more popular match-ups.

In 1985, the stadium hosted a preseason USFL game between the Baltimore Stars and Tampa Bay Bandits in February.

From 1937 to 2000, the stadium annually hosted the Shrine Bowl which was a match-up of the top high school football players in North Carolina and South Carolina. Sometime during the 1960s and 1970s, Memorial Stadium gained upper level seating on both sides of the field, raising its capacity to over 20,000. [4]

For the past few years the stadium has hosted several band competitions. It has hosted the battle of the Bands between the biggest HBCUs in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia, and hosted Drum Corps International competitions hosted by Carolina Crown.

The stadium also served as a neutral site for the 2002 and 2003 meetings between The Citadel and VMI, known as the Military Classic of the South.[5]

Recent eventsEdit

In late 2009 the east end of the stadium suffered significant damage after a storm drain under the structure caved in causing the stands above it to collapse. While repairs were being made, the stadium was closed for several months. The stadium reopened in July 2010 with a reduced capacity as a grass berm largely replaced the old seating.[6]

Memorial Stadium served as the home field for the Charlotte Hounds MLL team. The team began play at the start of the 2012 season and used the stadium for home games until 2018. The team is currently on hiatus and hopes to return in 2021.

The stadium continues to play a large role in Charlotte-Mecklenburg high school football, as it hosts big ticket match-ups such as Butler v. Independence and Charlotte Latin v. Charlotte Country Day. The Myers Park Mustangs moved most of their 2012 home games to the stadium after renovations temporarily lowered capacity at Gus Purcell Stadium, their on-campus home.[7]

In early 2015, the possibility arose of renovating the stadium to accommodate professional soccer in Charlotte and try to lure an MLS expansion franchise to the city, however this was only a proposal.[8] Sometime during 2015, a new press box was constructed on the 'visitors' side of the stadium. The Mecklenburg County Commissioners approved a $23 million renovation plan in late 2017.[9]

2019 RenovationEdit

In September 2019, Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation broke ground on a $31.7 million renovation of the stadium, which will be the new home of USL Championship soccer team Charlotte Independence beginning in spring 2021. Most of the existing stadium will be demolished and re-built. The renovation will add new concourse buildings, a memorial, a new scoreboard and other amenities. Historical elements of the stadium, such as the stone wall and ticket booths, will be preserved. Capacity is expected to drop to 10,500.[10][11][12]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-05-04. Retrieved 2009-04-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-04-30. Retrieved 2016-05-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-09-24. Retrieved 2018-10-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-06-11. Retrieved 2016-05-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "VMI, CITADEL FOOTBALL MOVES TO CHARLOTTE IN THE REGION". Roanoke Times. February 20, 2002. Archived from the original on January 25, 2013. Retrieved 2012-08-19.
  6. ^[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-01-21. Retrieved 2012-08-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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External linksEdit

Coordinates: 35°13′06″N 80°49′42″W / 35.2182°N 80.8283°W / 35.2182; -80.8283