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April 5, 2020

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Once upon a time in Ada

History of War Memorial Park Stadium

By Leland Crouse
History of War Memorial Park Stadium
It’s time to replace the original wooden bleachers!

May 1950 -  a public subscription campaign to raise funds for the erection of permanent steel stands to seat 1,080 at Memorial park was started and was to be completed this month, the Ada Booster club stadium committee decided. They were trying to carry out the wishes of local men who voted for such a memorial while they were in wartime service. Glenn Marshall, president of the Booster club, headed the committee in charge of the drive. Ray McClure was named to handle the funds collected for the project. Group chairman was George Greer, Ada; Owen Scott, Liberty Township; and Dean Moore, Orange Township. The publicity and promotion committee was composed of Harry Huffman, chairman; W.G. Peterson, business manager of Ohio Northern and C.C. Roberson, school superintendent. Assisting was Jesse Klingler, Floyd Latimore, K.W. Preston, Charles Patterson, Dwight Baughman, and I.T. Warthman. The purchasing committee consisted of George Hindall, chairman, J.B. Gobin and Ray McClure. For 1950-51 Glenn Marshall was president of the 506 member club; Lester Klingler, vice president; Jean Main, secretary and Mike Gilbert, treasurer. The committee urged Ohio Northern University and Ada High School to pledge a total of $1,000 each, payable within two years, to give the drive a good start. The Booster club donated a $1,500 to get the drive going. Besides subscriptions by individuals the club was seeking five-year pledges from clubs, granges, fraternal organizations and other groups in town and nearby areas.

In early August construction began with many late night hours spent working under flood lights, the volunteers finished on Wednesday, September 15, two days prior to Friday’s home opener.

The new bleachers seated 1,120 at a cost of $11,000 with the wooden press box.

1961 the Boosters Club agreed to furnish materials to replace the original wooden press box in the north steel bleachers, which were erected in 1950. Owen Scott (Ada War Memorial Park caretaker, and Russ Hathaway, long time McCurdy Manufacturing employee and booster member and “general engineer” of the project recruited three other McCurdy employees, Otis Anspach, George Kindle, Leonard Wright, to help with welding of the framework, floor and roof of the 18 foot long x 4 foot wide press box which is larger than the old wooden one, it allowed 14 more seats for fans in the stadium because of the design. The cost for the new press box was about $1,000.

In 1964, the booster decided it was time for steel bleachers for the visitor’s side. Hathaway again took over as general engineer and designed, ordered and fabricated the steel at McCurdy’s. He secured the help of co-workers Otis Anspach, George Kindle, and Leonard Wright. Booster volunteers and others helped put on paint and wooden planks.. The total cost of the 1,040 seat south stadium was $3,000. Ohio Power made a big contribution to the effort by digging 29 holes to a depth of five feet with their big power drill for the footers. Lots of volunteer laborers were listed in the weekly reports in the Ada Herald. Sylvan Simon headed up the labor committee and was aided by Bob Wyss, Ken Tressel, Joe Davis, Glen Williams, Everett Ludwig, Joe Saltzman, Carl Simon, Lloyd Elwood, Jim Stahl, Evan Simon, Willis Brown, along with Ada Bulldog athletes giving a hand with a coat of primer paint to the steel beams: Dave Simon, Steve Simon, John Bucher, Dennis Tressel, Paul Basinger and Jim Griffith.

In 1974, Ohio Northern University contracted with Hathaway to add 10 foot extensions on each end of the press box. It was a little over $6,000 for the extensions. He also added a frame so that canvas could be placed around the “crews nest” for protection from the cold.