David R. Francis Field was built in 1902 and first used in 1904 for the third Olympic Games, held in St. Louis.
The ornamental wrought-iron gate on the east end of the field was built after the World’s Fair to commemorate the 1904 Olympics, and the field is a registered historic landmark.
Washington University in St. Louis football games were played on Francis Field after the 1904 Olympics. The first gridiron game at Francis occurred in September 1905—a 59-0 Bear victory over Westminster College.
The field is surrounded by the James Butler Bushyhead Track. During both the 1984 and 1996 Olympic Torch relays, the Olympic Flame passed by Francis Field on its way to the site of the Games.
David R. Francis
Francis Gymnasium and Francis Field, both used as venues during the 1904 Olympics, are named for David Rowland Francis, an 1870 graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, governor of Missouri, president of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition Company, U.S. ambassador to Russia, and president of Merchants Exchange. Francis planned a career in law, but upon returning home to discuss his $450 college debt, he learned of an opening in the family grain business. After more schooling, and years of hard work, he eventually became a partner, and then president.