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Portsmouth in Scioto County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Spartan Municipal Stadium

 
 
Spartan Municipal Stadium Marker, side one image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, April 16, 2019
1. Spartan Municipal Stadium Marker, side one
Inscription.  Opened in the fall of 1930, Universal Stadium became the home of the Portsmouth Spartans professional football team. Earlier that summer, the Spartans had just become a member of the National Football League (NFL). Led by a few local businessmen, the Portsmouth National Football League Corporation raised money to help build the permanent stadium for the Spartans. The stadium opened on September 14, 1930 as the Spartans defeated the Newark (New Jersey) Tornadoes for their first NFL victory. Ten days later the Spartans played one of the NFL’s first night games against the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Portsmouth Times said, “Night football has come to stay, at least in Portsmouth.” From 1930 to 1933, the Spartans compiled a record of 19 wins 2 losses and 4 ties at Universal Stadium.

The most famous game played at Universal was on December 4, 1932. The Spartans with just eleven men defeated the world champion Green Bay Packers 10-0. In Portsmouth, the game is simply known as “The Iron Man Game.” In 1934, the franchise was sold and the team moved to Detroit. They were renamed the Detroit Lions. Portsmouth
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was to become the last small town in Ohio to have a NFL franchise. In August of 1980, the name of the stadium was changed to Spartan Municipal Stadium to honor the NFL team that called Universal Stadium home for four years. It is one of the oldest NFL stadiums still in use, and its field is still used to play football.
 
Erected 2003 by Portsmouth Spartans Historical Society and The Ohio Historical Society. (Marker Number 7-73.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Notable BuildingsSports. In addition, it is included in the Ohio Historical Society / The Ohio History Connection series list. A significant historical month for this entry is August 1980.
 
Location. 38° 43.802′ N, 82° 58.719′ W. Marker is in Portsmouth, Ohio, in Scioto County. Marker is at the intersection of Williams Street and James Street, on the right when traveling east on Williams Street. It is at the main entrance to the stadium. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Portsmouth OH 45662, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Crossing at Scioto County / The Underground Railroad (approx. one mile away); Civil War Memorial (approx. one mile away); Scioto County KIA-MIA Memorial (approx. 1.1 miles away); Bigelow Church (approx.
Spartan Municipal Stadium Marker, side two image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, April 16, 2019
2. Spartan Municipal Stadium Marker, side two
1.1 miles away); George H. Gharky House (approx. 1.1 miles away); Elden House (approx. 1.1 miles away); Simon Labold House and Garden (approx. 1.1 miles away); Portsmouth Fire House #1 (approx. 1.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Portsmouth.
 
Also see . . .  Wikipedia entry for the Portsbouth Spartans. “The Spartans formed in 1929, drawing players from defunct independent professional and semi-pro teams in the Ohio-Kentucky-West Virginia tri-state area. During that same year, Portsmouth residents agreed to fund the construction of a football stadium that was comparable to those in neighboring communities along the Ohio River. That approval prompted the National Football League to offer the city a franchise in July 1930, and led to the construction of Universal Stadium, which opened September 14 with a capacity of 8,200. With less than 43,000 residents in 1930, Portsmouth became the NFL's second smallest city, ahead of only Green Bay, which had a population under 38,000. During the team’s first year in the league, the Spartans compiled a record of 5–6–3, eighth in the 11-team league in 1930.”
Close up of photo reproduced on side two of the marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, April 16, 2019
3. Close up of photo reproduced on side two of the marker
The caption reads, “Stars from another era — Portmouth Spartans, from left, are Earl ‘Dutch‘ Clark, Roy Lumpkin and Glenn Presnell.”
(Submitted on April 23, 2019.) 
 
Spartan Municipal Stadium and Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, April 16, 2019
4. Spartan Municipal Stadium and Marker
Spartan Municipal Stadium Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, April 16, 2019
5. Spartan Municipal Stadium Marker
Spartan Municipal Stadium, Portsmouth, Ohio image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, April 16, 2019
6. Spartan Municipal Stadium, Portsmouth, Ohio
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 23, 2019. It was originally submitted on April 23, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 834 times since then and 197 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on April 23, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.

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Jul. 12, 2024