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The initial grand plans dreamt up by Illinois athletic director George Huff and coach Bob Zuppke included memorial plazas on each side of the stadium flanked by towers with a campanile in front and 75,000 seats. The towers should be so high, Zuppke said, that a spotlight atop them "will illuminate the name of Illinois from the Statue of Liberty to the Golden Gate."
Such plans would cost $2.5 million to execute. Financial reality reduced those plans to what $1.7 million could buy: 57,000 seats and the stately 22-foot columns that endure to this day.
On nearly every column is the name of an Illini alumnus who perished in the war. There are a few exceptions: One memorializes the Student Army Training Corps; one, the Student Navy Training Corps; and another, the unknown soldier.There's also an account of the dedication ceremony in 1924 and Red Grange's incredible performance the next day. So give it a read.