Cary Field, now the location of Zable Stadium, is so named to honor T. Archibald Cary of Richmond and his distinguished father, John B. Cary. Father and son were members of the Board of Visitors. T. Archibald Cary donated $1,000 to the College of William and Mary for athletics via a letter dated January 4, 1907.(Folder Buildings and Grounds, 1907-1911, Office of the President, Lyon G. Tyler Records) In another letter to the president dated October 19, 1907, Cary noted the grounds were still not ready despite his gift. The new, enclosed field was completed in time for baseball season in 1909. In 1909, Cary had donated a total of $2665.00 to the effort. About $170 was appropriated to paint and stain the grandstand and fence of the newly named Athletic Field that same year.
Repairs to the grandstand at Cary Field in 1910 cost about $100. A cinder track for the field was constructed in 1921, and a gift of a new scoreboard on the left field from Prof. and Mrs. Frederick Juchhoff replaced an earlier makeshift scoreboard on the centerfield fence. Bright Farm was purchased by the College in October 1923 and served as a new athletic field adjoining Cary Field, with a 1/4 mile cinder track with 220 yard straightaway, two football gridirons, and two baseball diamonds.
In 1927, electric lights were used on the field, and grandstands changed from one line of stands along the west side of the field to a horseshoe arrangement taking in the north, west, and east sides. Some sections were as high as 14 rows, and seated approximately 5000 people.
Plans were made in 1928 for a freshman athletic field to be located on west side of Cary Field. The old grandstand on the baseball field was torn down as it was condemned as unsafe. Instead, the bleacher stands from the football field were to be used.
In 1935 J. Binford Walford, the College Architect, drew plans for a new stadium. The plans were for a concrete stadium faced with brick that would be dedicated in September that same year. There would be space for a ladies' lounge, locker rooms, showers, field room, storage, wash rooms, and a heating plant below the seats of the east section. There would be space under the west section just for storage.
A fire in 1948 on the left side of the stadium burned for two hours and cracked the concrete under the stand. However, the damage to the stadium was not too serious. The stadium was renovated between 1979 and 1980, including concrete masonry restoration and seating, backrests for five sections in the west stands, new metric rubbertex track, an underground draining and sprinkler system, and reconstructed locker rooms. In 1990, Walter J. Zable (W&M Class of 1937, president and chief executive officer of the Cubic Corporation) donated a a $10-million gift to the College. The stadium at Cary Field was named the Walter J. Zable Stadium by the Board of Visitors.
- Colonial Echo: 1913 p. 150; 1916 p. 152
- University Archives Photograph Collection, Special Collections Research Center, Earl Gregg Swem Library, The College of William and Mary.
- University Archives Buildings File (2007), Cary Field, Earl Gregg Swem Library, The College of William and Mary.
- Office of the President, Lyon G. Tyler Records, Special Collections Research Center, Earl Gregg Swem Library, The College of William and Mary.
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