Thanks to students at Shawnee State University (SSU), Portsmouth’s Spartan Stadium has been named among Preservation Ohio’s 2017 List of Ohio’s Most Endangered Historic Sites.
Eleven total properties were named to the list, which has been added to annually since 1993, according to a release from Preservation Ohio.
In order to be named to the list, a site must be nominated by a citizen or organization. The final list is then selected by a board of trustees.
“Over the years, the list has proven successful in saving some of Ohio’s architectural, cultural and natural heritage,” the release stated. “Recognition of the Westcott House in Springfield, a Frank Lloyd Wright design, led to a multi-million dollar restoration. The Anthony Wayne Hotel in Hamilton, the Masonic Temple in Columbus and the Unionville Tavern share similar stories.
“Other structures and sites named to the list have not been as fortunate. Two of the properties on the 2017 list were also on the list last year. They remain endangered and Preservation Ohio continues to monitor their status and work with advocates in the local communities to draw attention and resources to the properties.”
There are various conditions which contribute to a site falling into endangered status. These include demolition threat, abandonment, neglectful owner, dilapidation, obsolete use, lack of funding for repairs, out-of-the-way location and encroaching sprawl.
SSU Associate Professor of Sociology Sean Dunne explained that he first became initiated with the task of getting Spartan Stadium added to Preservation Ohio’s list after a discussion with a colleague.
“I learned about it from a former history professor at Shawnee, and worked on it with a student that took the alternative spring break course,” Dunne explained. “This is great news, as it will help with grant applications and appeals for funding.”
Spartan Municipal Stadium was once home to a former NFL football team, which became the Detroit Lions.
Opening in the fall of 1930, the stadium was home to one of the NFL’s first night games on Sept. 24, 1930 when the Spartans played the Brooklyn Dodgers — a memory recounted on the historical marker erected outside the structure.
“A local group is working to educate the community about the stadium, which is currently vacant and deteriorating from neglect,” Preservation Ohio stated.
Preservation Ohio is a nonprofit, statewide historic preservation organization. The organization was established in 1982 to “enhance the understanding of and appreciation for Ohio’s historic resources and to serve as a focal point for Ohio organizations, municipalities, corporations and individuals who care about these resources and are concerned about preservation for future generations.”
For more information about Preservation Ohio, visit their website at www.preserveohio.com, follow on Twitter @PreservationOH or like on Facebook.
Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.