Estadio Brigadier General Estanislao López (El Cementario de los Elefantes)
|Inauguration||09/07/1946 (Colón - Boca Juniors, 1-2)|
|Construction||1943 - 1946|
|Renovations||1949, 1952, 1975-1978, 1994-2001, 2003, 2004, 2009-2010, 2014, 2016, 2019|
|Design||Estudio Otto A. Papis (2009-2010)|
|Address||Juan José Paso 3535, S3000 DXT, Santa Fe|
El Cementario de los Elefantes – stadium description
Estadio Brigadier General Estanislao López is located on the south end of the city. Buses reach its north edge, where the main access plaza is located. There’s also a small indoor arena beside it, as well as one full-size training field and three smaller ones. The field is surrounded by compact stands, all but one of which (the main one in the north) are double-tiered. Floodlights are located on top of both side stands.
It was officially inaugurated on July 9, 1946. Initially the ceremony was expected earlier, however the stadium got flooded by the river Salado. Its opening saw some 10,000 people take part, with a marathon held just before the first game. Aside from the main course, which was the game against Boca Juniors, there was also an air acrobatics show included.
In 1952 the stadium was named after Eva Perón, to honour the first lady who supported Colón’s participation in the AFA in 1948. She also helped financially in creating the very first artificial lighting system at the stadium in 1949, as well as first concrete sections in 1952. The stadium then grew to some 20,000.
The name remained in force until coup d’etat that overthrew Juan Domingo Perón. Naming anything after the president or his wife became banned by a decree of 1956. The stadium then became known as Estadio Brigadier General Estanislao López, honouringg former Argentine leader who ruled Santa Fe between 1818 and 1838.
It’s also known as “El Cementerio de los Elefantes” (the Elephant Graveyard) because of Colón’s impressive records against top-ranked rivals. In the 1960s the club celebrated a stunning record of 43 consecutive victories!
In 1975 reconstruction of the north stand began, seeing broadcasting facilities added in the following years. The revamp concluded in 1978. Between 1994 and 2001 another series of changes was carried out, including new concrete stands in the south and east, expansion of existing facilities and replacement of the aged floodlight system. The building was reopened on August 21, 2001.
In April of 2003 both local rivers, Paraná and Salado, broke their banks and flooded the area, accumulating as much as 7 metres of water inside the stadium. It was salvaged, though not without significant efforts. That same year barriers were broken during a clash against River Plate, causing a riot within the north stand. Afterwards, it was decided that a moat would be created to increase matchday safety. In 2008 the club became one of Argentina’s first to install an LED screen, along with new sound system inside the stadium.
Another major series of upgrades began in 2009 and was associated with the stadium hosting the 2011 Copa América. Both northern corners and the north-east end received a second tier, while nearly all stadium facilities were replaced or thoroughly renovated. This included new floodlighting system to meet new TV broadcast requirements.
With the help of supporters the stadium was painted with vivid red and black colours in 2014. That same year, new facilities for disabled supporters were created. Further paintwork was done in 2016, while in 2019 the south-west end became the last one to receive a second tier, enclosing the auditorium entirely.