The "House That Doak Built"
The Cotton Bowl opened in 1930 as Fair Park Stadium with a seating capacity of 45,000. It is located on the site of the State Fair of Texas, known as Fair Park. Its primary tenant was the SMU Mustangs football team, and became known as "The House That Doak Built," due to the immense crowds that SMU running back Doak Walker drew to the stadium during his college career in the late 1940s.
The Cotton Bowl Stadium was designated as a State Antiquities Landmark in 1984.
Over the years, the stadium's capacity was increased several times. The Cotton Bowl was the site of the first game played by the Dallas Cowboys in September of 1960, and they played there until 1971 when they moved to Texas Stadium.
The Cotton Bowl was the longtime home of the annual college football post-season bowl game known as the Cotton Bowl Classic, for which the stadium is named. Starting on New Year's Day in 1937, it hosted the first 73 editions of the game. The game was moved to AT&T Stadium in Arlington in January 2010. The stadium also hosts the Red River Showdown, the annual college football game between the Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners, and the First Responder Bowl.
Renovations to the Cotton Bowl in 2008 expanded the seating capacity to over 92,000 by encircling the upper deck. The $50 million renovation also included replacing all the seats, a new pressbox, luxury seats, video/scoreboard, lighting and concession upgrades. The annual Red River Rivalry game between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas Longhorns continues to be played at the Cotton Bowl.