120 years of Albert Lea High School football

Published 4:24 pm Friday, September 8, 2017

By Linda Evenson

The first football game played by an Albert Lea High School team was on Nov. 6, 1897, against Luther Academy of Albert Lea. The victory went to the high school, 6-0. Four games were played that season. A closely contested game on Thanksgiving Day ended in defeat for the high school, 8-0.

Albert Lea had a successful 1903 football season. The Freeborn County Times, Nov. 20, 1903, issue, reported, “This makes their fourth successive victory. The event was celebrated Saturday night by parading the streets, the blowing of horns and the favorite yell.”

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In the early days, football was not played every year. Albert Lea High School has fielded a team each year since 1917. For 40 years, Abbott Hill was the site of these football games. Initially the games were played on the lower field with bleachers built into the side of the hill. With the inauguration of night football in 1934-35 came field lighting and fencing, plus new uniforms. The dedication of a new stadium on the upper field occurred Sept. 29, 1950, at Abbott Field. The new $30,000 stadium held 800 spectators and had a modern press booth on top of the grandstand.