Training camp is approaching for the Pittsburgh Steelers in less than a few short weeks. This year will mark the 53rd year that the Black and Gold has gathered at St. Vincent’s College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania to prepare for the forthcoming season.
Only the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers have held their camps at just one facility as long or longer. St. Vincent’s College is home to their football team, nicknamed the “Bearcats.” In 2007 their stadium was appropriately renamed to Chuck Noll Field. But from the end of July until the end of August, that field has become a ritual for thousands of Steelers fans to flock to so they can witness their team running drills as well as meeting the players and collecting autographs.
Prior to making St. Vincent’s their Summer home, the Pittsburgh Steelers had held their training camp at 11 different locations since joining the National Football League in 1933. After Art Rooney Sr. bought himself a team 83 years ago, his team first warmed up for the ensuing season at the former Moore Field in Pittsburgh. The team would stay there until 1937 when they relocated to St. Francis College now St. Francis University located in Loretto, Pennsylvania near Johnstown.
Training camp at St. Francis would last just three years before the Steelers moved their location to Hershey, PA. This would remain their home until 1946 with a break in 1943. That year, because of World War II, the Philadelphia Eagles and Steelers joined forces due to a shortage in players due to the war. That team for one season would become known as the “Steagles” and they trained in Philadelphia.
Following the stint in Hershey, Art Rooney Sr. moved his team out of state for one year in 1944 to Waukesha, Wisconsin, just west of Milwaukee. Little history can be found on the Internet as to why the Steelers chose that as a camp but it lasted for just that one year. In 1947, Pittsburgh came back to their home state and settled in at Alliance College in Cambridge Springs.
The school was founded in 1912 and for four years, it became the Black and Gold’s summer home. An interesting fact about Alliance College is that their library has a claim to fame in that they once held the largest collection of Polish literature in North America. 35,000 cataloged periodicals along with 15,000 uncatalogued volumes. These were donated to the University of Pittsburgh in 1991.
On the move again in 1952, the Steelers opted to go out of state, this time to New York and St. Bonaventure College close to the border of Pennsylvania in western New York. Another six years would pass before Art Rooney Sr. searched for a new training camp home. This time in 1958 it was a Pennsylvania state school that landed the Steelers. California State Teachers College became the site of Steelers training camp which is now known as California University (PA).
Three seasons there and another state school got the honor of hosting players of the Pittsburgh Steelers. This time it was Slippery Rock State College which now is Slippery Rock University. 1961 would be the only year the “Rock” hosted the Steelers as West Liberty College in Wheeling, West Virginia came calling next.
Until the 1963 season had ended, West Liberty remained the location for the Pittsburgh Steelers to hold training camp until yet once again, Art Rooney Sr. took his team away from Pennsylvania this time to Rhode Island. The University of Rhode Island became the Summer’s training camp site for 1964, 1965, and 1966. During training camp in 1965, the Steelers also held practices at their current location in Latrobe and then moved there permanently in 1966 and has been there since.
Get a taste of camp below and click the lower right corner to go full screen...
2018 National Football