Tuesday, November 15, 2011

High School Football America On the Road: Bethlehem School District Stadium

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

Long before Texas began building its high school football cathedrals, Pennsylvania was at the forefront of state-of-the-art stadiums.

Yesterday, I shared photos of Allentown's J. Birney Crum Stadium that has 15,000 permanent seats.  Back in 1948, it actually had 22,500 seats.

Today, I traveled east to Bethlehem to snap some photos of Bethlehem Area School District Stadium that was built seven years before J.B.C., which was called Allentown School District Stadium before being renamed in 1982 after its legendary baseball, basketball and football coach.

Both stadiums were built to handle massive crowds that turned-out annually to watch Allentown and Bethlehem High Schools battle on the gridiron.

BASD, as it's known, was built as part of President Franklin Roosevelt's Work Projects Administration (WPA) that came-out of his New Deal.

The grandstands hold 13,600 fans and are built out of steel that was donated by Bethlehem Steel.  The field actually sits on the campus of Liberty High School, which is the original Bethlehem High School.  In the 60's, school district officials split the district in-half, and now Liberty and Freedom High School share the field, along with Bethlehem Catholic.

The field, which usually was nothing but dirt by October, because of numerous football and soccer games, was given a facelift in 2005.  Included in the renovation was the addition of Field Turf that added field hockey matches to the slate of games hosted by BASD.

On a personal note, there's nothing better than listening to the stomping of feet when fans cheer on their favorites, but once the weather turns cold, the steel holds the cold, which has made for many frozen nights.

1 comment:

angelareiss.com said...

This makes me miss home. And I hope you stopped at Pott's. Waaay better than Yocco's. ;)