Tracing the History of High School Football in Moundsville

After a tour of the new Monarch Stadium on Wednesday, I decided to try to found out more about high school football in Moundsville, including when it began and the initial site.

I started out by reviewing the Moundsville High School Centennial Book 1877-1977 and followed by looking at deeds in the county clerk’s office.

The centennial book stated that MHS football started in the early 1900s but it did not give a location. There were very few football players in a photograph, leading a person to believe that they played only away games.

So it was off to the courthouse to what could be found there.

With the help of an abstractor and a couple of county employees, a deed was found in which Alexander Purdy and his wife, Kate, sold 2.51 acres to school officials in June 1918. One of the reasons we believe it turned out to be the first football field was that Lafayette Avenue was mentioned in the deed, and of course, to the west of the current football field is Lafayette Avenue or W.Va. 2, which ever you want to call it. The sale price listed in the deed was $10 back then.

If this indeed happened to be the site for the school’s first football field, it would be the one that I remembered in later years as being of all wood, including that of an outer fence. It was not an easy task climbing from step-to-step, especially going up, because of the distance between the seats.

In case you don’t remember, there was also a baseball field north of the football field, which was the home diamond.

Now that I was satisfied with the first football field, it time to move on to the Moundsville Journal archives, where there are newspapers from the late 1940s to the early 1960s.

One of the books had newspapers from September through December of 1955. It just so happened that there were stories dealing with a new football stadium, with the old wooden bleachers/press box/fencing having been replaced by steel bleachers, a steel press box, new lighting and new concrete walkways.

On September 9, 1955, the new stadium hosted Linsly Military Institute’s team and fans.

The thing that I will never forget about the new field was the press box. It was on the east side of the field and especially during the month of September it wasn’t the place to be if you were trying to cover a game.

It would be later that someone with authority got smart and changed the home side from the east side to the west side.

By the way, when this stadium was constructed, the field itself was moved 30 yards to the north.

Enough said about the old days. It’s time for an update on the newest facility, some of which was in place for last year.

There are now bleachers on both sides, instead of just the west side. Last year there were only bleachers on the west side.

The press box is up and running, even having an elevator.

There is a new sound system, and a better lighting system.

The six-lane track has been replaced by one with eight lanes. The track needs to have a final coating.

Last year you could only enter from the north end, but this year there are entrances from both the north and south. In previous years those entering from the south had to walk down a few steps to get to field level, but now they go in on the level.

Besides the track, the biggest change from a year ago is two large buildings, one housing the restrooms and a concession stand, and the other, which will be competed by Oct. 30, to house team locker rooms and an officials’ locker room.

In case you don’t remember, the restrooms and concession stands were always under the bleachers.

As for current parking, anyone who has a handicap parking permit will be provided a space.

Free shuttle services will be provided from the John Marshall parking lots.

One of the main reasons for the shuttle service is that the state Division of Highways doesn’t want people parking on the west side of W.Va. 2 as crews are still working on enlarging W.Va. 2 from Fifth Street northward to the Jefferson Avenue Extension.

The 15th anniversary of the John Marshall High School Wall of Fame will take place at 4 p.m. on Oct. 19 at the Moundsville County Club.

The WOF committee has selected three persons, two of whom are deceased, for induction.

To be inducted are Bill Chaikowsky, SSgt. David Hammond and Rocky E. Young.

Chaikowsky graduated from JMHS and then enlisted in the United States Air Force, with his training preparing him as a combat cameraman. After his Air Force career, he worked as a freelance camera operator and director of photography. He traveled worldwide and became highly respected in the industry.

He has worked on numerous television comedies, music programs, documentaries, sports programs, and commercials. He has received six Emmy nominations. He received the Emmy for the Brittany Spears HBO Specials, Barbara Streisand Special, and two American Idol productions.

Chaikowsky lives in Las Vegas and his family includes two children and one grandchild.

Hammond was killed in action when a U.S. C-130 J crashed in Afghanistan. He graduated from JMHS and then joined the United States Air Force.

He became a F-15 avionics technician at Tyndall AFB, Fla., and Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C. After six years of service, Ryan cross-trained to a Loadmaster and was stationed at Dyess AFB, Texas. He was a member of the elite USAF Honor Guard. He applied for acceptance to Officer Training School while working toward a degree at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Young, also a JMHS graduate, obtained a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology from Marshall University and completed the Ironworkers Apprenticeship program.

While at John Marshall, Young was a member of the wrestling team. As an amateur boxer, he had a record of 106-15. He was a four-time West Virginia State Golden Glove Champion and National Golden Gloves Quarter Finalist. His professional record was 22-2 and West Virginia Featherweight champion.

Rocky donated much of his time speaking at schools and before youth groups about the 3-G’s — God, Guts and Goal. He gave 100 percent until his untimely death at the age of 46.

Reservations for the WOF may be obtained by phoning WOF committee chair Joseph Komorowski at 304-845-3403 by Oct. 1.

The Wall of Fame banquet is open to the public.

The State of Marshall County Conference held this past Thursday at Grand Vue Park was well received.

It was hosted by the Marshall County Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Marshall County Commission & Regional Economic Development organization, and sponsored by Chevron.

The four local speakers taking part were Dr. Shelby Haines, superintendent of Marshall County Schools; Dr. David Hess, CEO of WVU Medicine/Reynolds Memorial Hospital; Josh Jefferson of RED Partnership; and Scott Varner, Marshall County Commission president.

Another event which took place recently was the 50th anniversary of the first class to graduate from John Marshall High School.

Among the activities were that of a golf outing at the Moundsville Country Club, a tour of the school and get-together at Ruttenbuck’s in Glen Dale and Generations in Wheeling.

Mike Ferro, a class member who is also a substitute teacher at the school, led the tour of the school, and stated that those who had never visited the school after graduation were amazed at some of changes which had taken place, namely the converting of the two cafeterias into one, covering of the two walkways between the the two buildings, etc.

It just so happened that I found in my archives a write-up dealing with the purchase of the ground on which the school was built.

The purchase price was $150,000.

Funds for the purchase of the land were secured from the State Vocational Department.

Bonds totaling $3,895,000 were sold to the Chase-Manhattan Bank of New York.

The Wolf Run Presbyterian Church will have a free Ice Cream Social at the church from 4-6 p.m. on Sept. 15.

There will be a live band and free food, which usually consists of hot dogs, sloppy joes and homemade ice cream.

The Blue & Gold Christian Center in Cameron has resumed its after-school program, Kidz Kamp.

It is for youngsters in kindergarden through fifth grade.

Other events offered are:

“Mommy & Me,” an interactive time for moms, grandmas, guardians or babysitters with children aged 2-4. It will held every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. with Juli Coe in charge.

Knitting for teens will start at 5 p.m. on Thursday. Genie Moninger welcomes any teens. All materials will be provided. Adults are welcome to attend also.

Christy Rogers will be doing some sewing activities with 4th and 5th graders during “Kidz Kamp” on Wednesday afternoons.

Fred and Jennifer Reynolds will be having activities for middle and high schoolers on at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

The Blue & Gold Center has received several donations recently. Among donors were the community of Cameron, churches, companies and organizations. Also, the Marshall County Family Resource Network gave a huge amount of food. while John Hart supplied a large portion of meat, and the American Legion Auxiliary provided school supplies.

Others who would like to help the center might consider joining the Kroger Savings and Rewards program.

The Marshall County Board of Education renewed leases of five former school buildings to community associations at its recent meeting.

The buildings are occupied by the Dallas Community Association, the Bowman Ridge Community Association, the Graysville Community Association, the Dry Ridge Community and the Big Run Community Association.

The Marshall County Schools Office of Special Programs has a number of work sites that were approved by the Marshall County Board of Education at its last meeting.

The OSP employs a work-study coordinator who places approximately 40 students in work sites throughout the county each year. The students wear the firm’s uniform, and perform assigned duties like other employees.

The annual Marshall-Wetzel-Tyler CLC, AFL-CIO Steak Fry will be held this Saturday at St. Jude Hall, Glen Dale.

Those attending are to bring their own place settings.

For tickets or more information about the planned event, call Chuck at 304-639-6318 or email marshallcoump@yahoo.com.

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