Over at MVictors.com, Greg Dooley has posted a great interview with Dr. Robert Soderstrom, author of The Big House, Fielding Yost and the Building of Michigan Stadium (Huron River Press, 2005).
Topics covered include the difference between conducting research on football history at Michigan and Illinois; an idea of what it takes to do the level of research needed for a book of this magnitude; the difficulties he had convincing a publisher that anyone would care about "a stadium"; Soderstrom's opinion of the stadium renovation; how important it was for the project's success that it was led by Fielding Yost and that it was done when it was done; how close the project came to failing miserably because of water issues during excavation; and then there's this:
MVictors: One of the greatest tales of Michigan Stadium involves a crane or steam shovel being buried beneath the stadium, lost in all that water and sand during the build. But you didn’t find any evidence of this in your research?
Soderstrom: [laughs] I was unable to confirm that and I’ve heard that story since I arrive in Ann Arbor way back in 1968. I could not find anything in the current literature, either in the Ann Arbor News or the Michigan Daily or anything. I can’t imagine that wouldn’t have been recorded by somebody if in fact they had lost a whole steam shovel. The [excavator] lost everything else. I also asked his granddaughter and she said she never heard that story from her grandfather.
Sorry to burst anyone's bubble about the great apocryphal Michigan Stadium steam shovel. All in all, another great MVictors.com read and must reading for any Michigan Stadium aficionado (aren't we all?).