The following article was originally printed in volume 13, issue 7, page 1 of The Maneater. It has been reprinted here as it appeared in the paper in 1965. It is not to be seen as a current news article.
Record 57,000 to view game
The First One Drew Only 10,000 Fans
By Judy Haverfield
“Corny County Fair,” the 53rd annual Mizzou Homecoming, will roll into full swing this weekend.
An expected 57,000 fans will crowd into Columbia Saturday to watch the Tigers battle the highly-touted Nebraska Cornhuskers.
That record number is a far cry from the 10,000 who took part in the first Homecoming festivities over half a century ago. Indeed, the whole idea of Homecoming weekend has undergone a series of significant changes since its beginning.
Bonfires have been replaced by elaborate, crepe paper decorations; post-game get-togethers have become gala victory dances and mass meetings have given way to jazz concerts.
Our first “Homecoming,” in 1911, was a small attempt to sponsor an annual reunion on the day of an important football game. The first in a series of traditional Thanksgiving Day games was played to a crowd of 10,000 at Rollins Field as the Tigers slaughtered the Kansas Jayhawks.
The first actual Homecoming was held the following year.
The festivities associated with Homecoming first began in 1917. A crowd of 100,000 turned out for the six-mile parade with 198 floats representing almost every school, department and organization on campus.
The 1922 Homecoming was highlighted by the laying of the cornerstone for Memorial Stadium. The “mass meeting” was introduced that year with the freshmen burning their caps in a 60-foot bonfire and the first Homecoming dance, an informal mixer, was held following the University’s 16-7 victory over Kansas.
In 1931 the idea of Greek house decorations was introduced – and the ATO’s won first place. Two dances, the Frolic and the Shatter Hop, were held after a victorious game against St. Louis University.
The first Homecoming Queen was crowned during the halftime of the Missouri-Kansas game in 1932. Following the coronation, a gold football from the first Tiger-Jayhawk conflict was presented to the Missouri coach.
The annual “mass meeting,” with its bonfire and speakers, also was held that year. Aerial bombs spelling out “Welcome Grads” and “Yea Tigers, Beat Kansas” highlighted the meeting.
A barbecue and a victory dance following the game rounded out the celebration.
World War II brought a somber atmosphere to University Homecomings. In 1942, the last wartime Homecoming was observed and was more a ceremony than a celebration. The event was dedicated to University men in uniform.
When the war was over and Homecoming returned to campus, it had changed. The bonfire and the “mass meeting” were gone, mizers had been replaced by a more formal Homecoming dance and decorations had become a great deal more elaborate.
It had begun to progress into the Homecoming that we know today.