Baltimore Colts

Colts training camp at Western Maryland College was a delight for fans

Colts training camp at Western Maryland College was a delight for fans

On August 1, 1953, for the first time, the Baltimore Colts opened their football training camp at Western Maryland College in Westminster. More than 2,500 fans watched that first practice at Hoffa Field, then surrounded their sweaty heroes, asking for autographs.

For 19 years, that scene played out. Each summer, families made the pilgrimage to the sleepy Carroll County town. Rubbing elbows with the likes of Johnny Unitas and Lenny Moore was a rite of passage for kids of the era.

Crowds grew. In 1957, more than 5,000 attended the second annual Colts Family Day; in 1969, an ordinary practice drew 7,900 fans. Often, folks lingered around...

68°