Jelsma Stadium – Guthrie

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Address: 108 E. Harrison, Guthrie, OK 73044 County Logan
Started 1935 Completed 1936

Description:


Jelsma Stadium was a dream in Guthrie.  Plans were drawn, and the stadium was added to a bond election in 1935.   The bond passed for $22,500 towards the new stadium.  The city was able to partner with the WPA on the project, bringing another $36,000.  The stadium was designed to seat 4,000 people with room for additional seating.  It included both a football and a baseball field, which share some of the same grass.  It was designed with Bermuda grass and was intended to drain from a heavy rain within two hours.  The stadium was projected to employ 153 men for six months.  It opened in 1936. The stadium was named after Lawrence Jelsma, a leader in Guthrie and a proponent for the stadium who passed away in 1934.  It remains the primary stadium in Guthrie and is known as one of the best High School stadiums in the country.  It was renovated in 2005 for $3,000,000.  The Stadium is locally known as “The Rock” for it’s 30 foot stone wall facing Harrison Avenue.[1]

“Jelsma Stadium, constructed by the WPA, was selected by ESPN as No. 13 Best High School Stadium in the nation, in 2008.

Lawrence Jelsma was a business and civic leader in Guthrie during the 1920s and 1930s. With his encouragement a $14,500 bond issue was passed and, together with funds from the WPA, this stadium was able to be built at a cost of $48,500. Unfortunately, Jelsma did not live to see the first game played here, as he passed away in 1934 at the age of 1941 from pneumonia.

The amazing thing about this stadium is the 30-foot high native sandstone wall on the north side of the stadium, giviing the stadium its nickname, “The Rock”. From outside the stadium, the rock wall is seen, as it extends about eight feet above the sidewalk next to the ticket booths…

In 2005, extensive renovation was conducted on the stadium to the tune of $3,000,000. The ticket booth area, although still native sandstone, appears to be part of this later renovation…

The WPA shield with the date 1936 can be seen in concrete.”  [2]

Covered an area of 400 x 700 feet.

Sources:

  1. Logan County Historical Society
  2. The Living New Deal 
  3. Oklahoma Landmarks Inventory Nomination
  4. http://guthriesports.wordpress.com/2011/09/14/jelsma-stadium-set-to-celebrate-75-years/

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