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Classic Games in Cyclone Football History: 1896 at Des Moines YMCA

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This game was a classic on and off the field. Notably off the field, this was the first (as far as I can tell) time a newspaper referred to the football team from Ames as “Cyclones” following the 1895 game against Northwestern.

“Foot Ball Teams,” from the Bomb (yearbook) of 1898.

Fun fact, Iowa State is 4-0 all time against “Des Moines Y” with games dating from 1892-1896. Some of the faces we know and love from 1895 squad are still here: Van Campen, Hammer, B.W. Wilson, German and Rice.

1896 Souvenir Program

According to Mark Pollak’s The Playing Grounds of College Football: A Comprehensive Directory, 1869 to Today, Iowa Agricultural College and Model Farm played at “YMCA Field/South Ninth Street Grounds/Drake Athletic Park” in 1898, and I know for a fact (the article I’m soon going to share the recap from) that this game was played at the same location. Fun fact, the Des Moines Prohibitionists (precursor to the Oaks/Cubs) played at the same location at “Polk County Fairgrounds in front of Seventh Street along the Raccoon River.”1

Below is a preview of the game from the Des Moines Leader on November 11, 1896.

Something that sticks out to me in these old newspapers is the weights, I wonder what caused the discrepancy between the above numbers and the below numbers published in the program from the game a week prior, against Grinnell.

1896 Souvenir Program

Hood’s Sarsaparilla advertisements are so common, I’m surprised they didn’t sponsor the first Rose Bowl.

The weather for the November 11, 1896, game featured a high of 34ºF and a low of 16ºF. For just $0.03 in 1896 ($0.90 in 2018) you could read the attached clippings.


The Des Moines Register, 12 Nov 1896