Tanks Stadium was community project

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 16, 2008

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Tanks Memorial Stadium was built in 1926 by the citizens of Ironton. The stadium is in need renovation.)

Would you like to build a new high school football stadium? Just try and do it the same way they did the first time.

With virtually no red tape and government interference, Tanks Memorial Stadium was built in 1926 as the home of the Ironton Tanks professional football team in lightning time compared to today’s standards.

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The stadium was recognized in 2002 by the Ohio Historical Society and Ohio Bicentennial Committee as a historical landmark.

Talk of building a stadium began during the 1925 season. A public meeting was in December at the Ironton Elks Lodge with more than 50 boosters attending, but unofficial offers made by private parties to build the stadium caused all other plans to be dropped at that time.

After a four-month delay, the Ironton News stated a publicity campaign

by publishing coupons. The campaign started on March 23 and $1,950 was voluntarily pledged the first week for the sale of season tickets.

The next move was to call a public meeting at the Courthouse auditorium on April 16 by Bert Cohen, post commander of the American Legion.

Approximately eight boosters attending the meeting spelled out plans for the organization of a stock company, which finally resulted in the building of the stadium. It was at this time that an application was made for incorporation papers.

On April 26, the committee started a drive

for $30,000 worth of stock guaranteed to pay 7 percent, each year, with a certain amount of the principal being refunded from the profits.

The pledges reached $15,000 of the goal on the first day, and on May 6 the entire amount had been met.

The Beechwood Stadium Co., a non-profit corporation, was organized by the election of the following directors: A. R. Johnson, L. R. Andrews, D. C. Davies, Frank Wieteki, Brook Capper, Dr. Cos Burton, O.D. Hayes, W. P. Lewis, George P. Mahl, Charles L. Collett, E.J. Merrill, Leo Brumberg, Dr. T.H. Remy, and C.W. Golden.

The directors elected the following the officers: Thos.

L. Hudson, president, J. F. Scherer, Dr. C. E. Vidt, and F. W. Batham, vice presidents, H. M. Edwards, secretary, and David Morgan, treasurer.

Johnson and Andrews appeared before the Ironton Board of Education on May 13 and secured a 20-year lease on the stadium site in Beechwood Park, with the understanding that the Stadium Association would have full charge of the affairs until the same was paid for, and all stockholders had received their money back plus 7 per cent interest.

On May 21, the directors awarded the contract for the steel to the Wisconsin Bridge Co. Other contracts were let to O. H. Schweickart.

The stadium was completed and in November it was christened on Thanksgiving Day with the Tanks playing the Kansas City Cowboys to a scoreless tie.