Fans Gather To Learn About The Early Days Of Packers Football

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Many know about the history and lore of Lambeau Field, but during Wednesday's "Packers History Night" more than 100 people learned about the era from 1919 to 1956 when the Packers players at Hagemeister Park, Bellevue Park and City Stadium.

"It was a large turnout," Executive Vice President and CEO John Jones said. "It just goes to show how deep the interest in Packers history and the Packers' roots goes."

Packers Hall of Fame archivist Tom Murphy presented photos of the old stadiums, the structures that stand at their former residence and old game action photos through a PowerPoint slide show presentation. He answered questions and queried the eager fans who filled the Hall of Fame Grill in Lambeau Field Atrium.

"There was good participation there with the people in the audience," Murphy said. "Most of the people seemed to be listening pretty intently."

Attendants also participated by bringing in their own photos, which Packers officials scanned and added to the informational session. Mike McMullen of Allouez, Wis., showcased two 1921 photos of the Packers playing against the Minneapolis Marines, which he bought on eBay for $75. McMullen, who visits libraries on Saturday mornings to peruse through old documents, enjoyed the evening.

"It's a real thrill," McMullen said. "I've always wanted to know more about the old history. There's so little out there."

Jeanne Biebel of Allouez also brought in photos and a letter, detailing her father's observations of Packers games. He had watched them since he was seven-years-old, entering the stadiums as a child by going "over the fence, under the fence and around the fence." Some players even carried him in. Because of her father's devotion to the team, seeing the old photos carried special meaning.

"I know my Dad was probably in a lot of those old pictures because he never missed a game," she said.

A California man, whose father was a member of the Packers' original front office staff, sent photos and documents, including a copy of the Packers' $100 lease to use Hagemeister Park. The Hall of Fame had never seen that document before, and it served as just one of the new facts discovered during the evening.

"I learn all the time," Murphy said. "There's no one that knows all about this stuff."

Other informational nuggets gleamed from the night include:

  • Fred Hulbert, a Chicago native, started the first series of football games in Green Bay in 1895.
  • In 1921 The ACME Packers uniforms did not feature their names or numbers but had ACME Packers written on the front and back.
  • The first Packers-Bears game occurred on Oct. 14, 1923.
  • City Stadium did not have a visitors' locker room. Opponents came to the game dressed in their uniforms and held their halftimes at a local high school.

Because of the success of the night, Packers officials are brainstorming about future "Packers History Nights." They would like to schedule the events several times-a-year, perhaps focusing on certain players or bringing in special guests.

"There will be opportunities to look at other aspects of Packers history," Jones said. "Everyone seemed to enjoy it tonight and was asking for more."

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