PACKERS HERITAGE TRAIL
The Packers Heritage Trail was designed as a self-guided walking tour that weaves two compelling stories. One is about the rich, colorful and improbable history of the storied Green Bay Packers. The other is about the people of Green Bay and how their undying devotion to their beloved football team pulled it through years of financial struggle and ensured its survival.
The focus of the story as a whole is on the 50 years that covered the legendary reigns of Curly Lambeau and Vince Lombardi – in other words, the period from 1919 through 1968. And it is presented on 22 commemorative plaques, made of all bronze and located at sites where the blended history of the Packers and their fans during that period actually unfolded.
Explorers of the Packers Heritage Trail will see Lambeau’s Birthplace Home and the Birthplace of the Packers.
They will stop at the courthouse where perhaps the most contentious meeting in Packers history took place when Lambeau’s enemies tried to oust him as coach, the auditorium where legendary rival George Halas urged local fans to pass a referendum to build what is now Lambeau Field in order to preserve their franchise, and the hotel where Lombardi’s introductory press conference was held after he was hired as the Packers’ head coach.
The tour also passes the church where Lombardi attended daily Mass, the former train depots where Packers fans of yesteryear wildly celebrated title-clinching victories and office buildings occupied by Lambeau, Lombardi and others.
Perhaps the featured attraction is City Stadium, the Packers’ home field from 1925 through 1956.
The trailhead for the Packers Heritage Trail is the Neville Public Museum. Twenty-one of the 22 commemorative plaques are located within a two-mile radius of downtown Green Bay. And 17 are at sites where the buildings or landmarks remain standing in some form.
Seventeen of the commemorative plaques are part of a City Walk. Five others are located on two spurs of the Packers Heritage Trail that were designed as self-guided bike rides. The names of the two spurs are Packing Plant and Lambeau-Lombardi. One leads to buildings that were part of both the Indian and Acme packing plants, the Packers’ initial sponsors; and the other to St. Norbert College, the team’s training camp home since 1958.
While the Packers Heritage Trail and its extensions were created with the physically active fan in mind and to showcase Green Bay’s scenic and extensive urban trail system, they can be explored in any number of ways.