Friday, September 25, 2009

Strobel Field

On the evening of September 25, 1936, the new $100,000 Sandusky High School stadium at Strobel Field was dedicated, prior to the football game between Sandusky and Elyria High Schools. The 1937 Fram recorded that the stadium was built of reinforced concrete, with a height of thirty-seven feet, and was two hundred feet in length. Total seating capacity was between 5,600 and 6,000.The stadium featured a press box, broadcasting booth, two locker rooms, training rooms, and a coaches’ dugout. A quarter mile running track encircled the football field. The field had electric lighting, so that night games could be played.

According to articles in the September 25 and 26, 1936 issues of the Sandusky Register, the stadium was a WPA project, with Thomas C. Millar as superintendent of construction, and William Helm, field engineer. S.D. Downing was the WPA administrator in charge of the project. Harold Parker, architect for the stadium, said at the dedication: “Dedication of this stadium marks fulfillment of a dream or thought cherished during the past seven years to plan or supervise construction of a stadium for the board of education, the students and citizens, to be judged by those who know as a layout of the first rank not only in this section of the state but in this section of the United States.” Mr. Downing said, “The WPA of Ohio looks to this project with great pride, not only as a project, but in keeping people at work.” He presented the blueprints to Dr. C.R. Knoble, president of the Sandusky Board of Education.

The Sandusky Board of Education had purchased the property at the site of the new stadium, in 1921. It was named Strobel Field, in honor of C. J. Strobel, for his years of outstanding service to Sandusky City Schools. C. J. Strobel was a member of the Board of Education of Sandusky Schools for forty-eight years. When elected, he was the youngest member of the board, and when he left, he was the oldest member who had ever served on the board. Mr. Strobel also had worked at Citizens Banking Co. for fifty seven years. Mr. Strobel was considered an expert in the field of school finance.

On the night of the dedication, WPA officials, and school officials, including Frank J. Prout, Superintendent; Dr. C. R. Knoble, Board president; and Karl E. Whinnery, High School principal, sat on a platform under the lights. By 7:30 p.m. the bleachers and stands were packed. Frank J. Prout estimated the crowd in attendance to be 7,500 to 8,000, not including all the bands. A parade of bands was held, beginning at the southeast corner of the stadium. Drum majors led each band down the field. The combined bands played the “Star Spangled Banner” as the flag was raised.

The 1936 Sandusky Blue Streaks football team was coached by Bob Whittaker, who was coming into the September 25th game with 35 successive wins. The Blue Streaks beat Elyria, 16 to 7. Sandusky’s touchdowns were scored by Roy Gant and Harold Krause. Sandusky would finish that season with a record of 9 and 1, with the one loss occurring at the game between Sandusky and Toledo Waite. The 1937 Fram editors stated “We feel that as long as Whittaker-coached teams represent Sandusky High School these teams will continue to rank as one of the best in the state.”

To learn more about the history of Sandusky schools, visit the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library. There you will find old yearbooks, newspapers on microfilm, and a Finding Aid which will guide you through our archival collections.


Anonymous said...

very interesting.

thethrill said...

Note how small the newly-planted trees were as compared to how much they grew prior to being removed. Lots of great memories about Strobel, both as an athletic venue and as Sandusky icon. What a place. I look forward to coming back for games and Barardi fries.