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Miles Field

Items of Interest

[The genesis of the new athletic field and the source of the name.]

Early in the spring an agitation was begun by the Athletic Association to remodel the old playing field so as to give our teams a first-class diamond, gridiron and track. During the session of 1906-07, a subscription of several hundred dollars had been raised through the efforts of Mr. H. H. Varner, then graduate manager, and this amount was largely increased by student subscriptions during the past session. Plans were drawn up in April providing for a field 550 x 350 ft., within which are to be located the football and baseball grounds, with an oval, 440 yd., cinder track, fifteen feet in width, and a 220-yard tangential straight-away of like dimensions and material. The whole is to be drained by surface slope, tiling and surface ditches on the exterior. About the middle of May, the actual work of grading was begun and at this writing it is progressing rapidly. When completed the new field will be one of the best in this section of the country. It has already been named Miles Field in honor of "Sally" Miles (1901) who has been successively baseball and football captain, baseball and football coach, and graduate manager of athletics.

From the Bulletin of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute -- The State Agricultural and Mechanical College, Commencement Number, October, 1909, pg. 54.

The New Athletic Field

The athletic dream of years, a good playing field, is now nearing realization. A brief statement of what it is, what it is not, and why, will, we think, be of interest to the alumni of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute.


Miles Field location Location of Miles Field on a 1921 Sanborn Map adjacent to the Field House, on the site of the present day Drill Field.

Miles Field, as it stands completed, is 550 feet long by 370 feet wide. It is designed for use in football, baseball, and track athletics. The football field is to be located 60 feet out from the bleachers, with its center directly opposite the center of the stand. The baseball diamond will also have, as its axis, a line perpendicular to the center of the grandstand. Inside the 440-yard cinder track the field slopes one foot in a hundred, laterally from a straight line between the two semicircle centers, and radially from these centers to the track edge. Thus it is possible to have the track dead level all the way around without raising or lowering it above the general level of the field. At present the field is not tile drained, since it is nearly all filled, and the irregular settling to be expected in filled earth would so disarrange any tile line as to render it useless. Later. however, it is proposed to drain by tile either the whole field or any particularly troublesome parts. The field is sown in three varieties of grass, with a special mixture for the new diamond.

The quarter-mile cinder track is composed of two straightaways 236 feet in length, one 19, the other 17 feet wide, and two semicircles 424 feet long, each 19 feet wide. Running into the 17-foot straightaway, on the side of the field nearest the administration building, is a 17I-foot tangential cinder track which gives a 240-yard straightaway. The entire track is tile drained under the center, and the bed of the track is sloped in toward the central drain ditch, which is filled with cinders. As only one-sixth of the track runs over filled earth, it is hoped that trouble with drainage will be limited to that part.

The cost of the field has been moderate, compared to what has been accomplished. It is estimated that 7,000 yards of earth have been moved; about 4 acres have been top dressed with rich soil from 3 to 9 inches in depth and nearly three-eighths of a mile of cinder track will have been built and drained, as soon as sufficient cinders are available from the college power house. The expenditures, an itemized statement of which will be published for the athletic association upon completion of the work, will total between $1,500 and $1,600. This amount was made up about as follows: From contingent fees 1907—$500; from contingent fees 1909—$800; from general fund of the athletic association—$300.

For much valuable and voluntary assistance in the construction of the field, V. P. I. owes its thanks to Dr. Williams, who drew up the plans; to Dr. Lambeth, of the University of Virginia, who made many suggestions of value regarding them; to Mr. H. G. McCormick, Professor J. S. A. Johnson, and Messrs. MacKan and Vawter for almost daily engineering assistance and advice; to Mr. D. O. Matthews, who has been untiring in his efforts to help the work along in every way possible, and to Dr. Barringer, who has been deeply interested and sympathetic in the project since its inception.

And now a few words of thanks and appreciation to the man who, above all others, made Miles Field possible, Professor Hugh S. Worthington, for his untiring energy and perseverance throughout the summer. That his efforts were crowned with success is as it should be, for no man ever worked more unselfishly nor with greater spirit for the completion of a project which was for no personal benefit, but for the good of many, many others, both men here now and those to come. Without his presence on the field, the work would not have progressed; without his spirit behind the enterprise, it would have languished. From six in the morning until after dark did Professor Worthington labor, with pick, shovel, scraper, or transit. Attending carefully to the details, he kept always before him the desired goal of the undertaking, and that it has been reached no one can deny. That it was due to his efforts is equally true, and those efforts merit and will receive the deepest thanks and appreciation on the part of the alumni, faculty, and students of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

From the Bulletin of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute (The State Agricultural and Mechanical College) Opening Number, October, 1909, pg. 8-9.