Newark Schools Stadium

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Newark Schools Stadium
Location 450 Bloomfield Avenue, Roseville, Newark, New Jersey 07102
Coordinates 40°46′12″N 74°11′05″W / 40.769866°N 74.184612°W / 40.769866; -74.184612Coordinates: 40°46′12″N 74°11′05″W / 40.769866°N 74.184612°W / 40.769866; -74.184612
Opened 1925 (original stadium)
2011 (current stadium)
Demolished 2009
Surface Grass (original stadium)
Artificial (current)
Capacity 15,000
Tenants
Newark Stars (Negro Leagues)
Newark Tornadoes (NFL) (1930)
Newark Tornadoes (AA) (1930, 1937-1938)
Newark Bears (AA) (1939-1941, 1963-1964))
Newark Ukrainian Sitch (ASL) (1967-1968)
Newark City Schools (1925-2006)

Newark Schools Stadium (nicknamed "The Old Lady of Bloomfield Avenue") was a reinforced concrete horseshoe-shaped stadium located on Bloomfield Avenue in Newark, New Jersey. The stadium was used primary for football and was built in 1925. It was the home of the Newark Tornadoes of the National Football League during the 1930 season. The stadium was used for high school football until 2006. Baseball's Newark Stars of the Eastern Colored League, which was a part of the Negro Leagues, also used the stadium in 1926.

The original stadium was demolished in 2009 to make way for construction of a new stadium, which opened in 2011. It currently plays host to football games played by Barringer High School and East Side High School.

Soccer[edit]

For the 1967-68 ASL (American Soccer League) season, the Newark Ukrainian Sitch club moved its home games to this field. Prior to that season, 'Sitch' played at Ironbound field. The move to an approx. 25,000 capacity ground was welcomed as an improvement. The crowds never filled the stadium however and the Ukrainian Weekly refers to crowds only in the hundreds rather than thousands.[1]

Football[edit]

After the Tornadoes folded, Newark's American Association team became the primary tenants for the stadium. The American Association was the first attempt at establishing a farm system for the NFL. In 1937, the Tornadoes left Orange, New Jersey again for Newark. The team was once again called the Newark Tornadoes. In 1939, the team was purchased by George Halas, the owner of the Chicago Bears, and called the Newark Bears. Most of Newark's public school football teams played at the stadium as well until 2006. The Stadium also served, since 1955 until its closing for reconstruction, as the home of the North Newark Little League (formerly the Saint Francis Xavier Little League).

Baseball[edit]

Schools Stadium was also used for baseball. In 1926, the Newark Stars of the Negro Leagues played at stadium. When the stadium was configured for baseball, the distance down the foul lines was so short, that balls hit over the fence were ground rule doubles. High school teams also used the field for baseball until 2006. The Stadium was also the original home of what has become one of the largest youth baseball programs in the City of Newark - the North Newark Little League. Formerly the St. Francis Xavier Little League, the youth of the program utilized the baseball fields from 1955. It was the last organization to have continued use of the facility (even after it was condemned in 2006)right up to the point of its closing for reconstruction.

Track and field[edit]

Olympian Jesse Owens, once ran track there and lost to a Newark local named Eulace Peacock. Meanwhile another Olympian, Milt Campbell began his track career at Newark Schools Stadium. The National Women's Olympic Trials also were held in the stadium in 1928.

Riots[edit]

During the 1967 Newark riots, Schools Stadium served as the staging area for the New Jersey National Guard, who were summoned to Newark to reinforce the overwhelmed Newark Police Department.

Decline and a new stadium[edit]

Years of neglect allowed the stadium to experience a large amount of deterioration and compromised structural integrity. At various points in its later years, parts of the stadium's wooden bleachers were blocked off with fencing to prevent spectators from sitting in these seats.

In 2006, a capital bond request was approved by the Newark City Council that included $63.7 million in funding for 14 projects that ranged from a new robotics center to the rebuilding of Schools Stadium. In Fall 2006, Schools Stadium was condemned and three years later the stadium was demolished. All the schools that were using the venue for football saw their games moved to either Untermann Field at Weequahic High School or Shabazz Stadium at Malcolm X Shabazz High School, which were already shared by several schools.

A new Schools Stadium was constructed on the site of the old stadium and opened in 2011.

Preceded by
Knights of Columbus Stadium
Home of the Orange A.C.- Orange/Newark Tornadoes
1930
Succeeded by
Newark Velodrome
Preceded by
Knights of Columbus Stadium
Home of the Orange A.C.- Orange/Newark Tornadoes
1937-1965
Succeeded by
None

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Ukrainian Weekly, September 30, 1967 (online archive at http://www.ukrweekly.com)