Old Fairfield Stadium
This is the site of the Old Fairfield stadium which served as the home field for Marshall University football from the stadium's first game on September 22, 1928 until its final game on November 10, 1990. Fairfield was the home field for the Marshall football team that lost their lives in the tragic plane crash in 1970. This was also the field where head coach Jack Lengyel began the process of rebuilding Marshall's football program. The team now plays their home games at Joan C. Edward’s stadium along 5th avenue, and the Erma Byrd Clinic, built in 2007, stands in Fairfield Stadium’s old location.
Backstory and Context
Old Fairfield stadium was built in 1928 and was the home playing field for the Thundering herd for over sixty years. Located about a mile south of campus, this 10,00-seat stadium was not only the Herd's "home turf" but was also the site of many local high school football games. This brick stadium held its first game on September 29, 1928, hosting two local high school teams, Huntington High and Portsmouth High (Ohio). Marshall played their first game at Fairfield Stadium on October 7, 1928, defeating Fairmont 27-0.
The Huntington Board of Park Commissioners purchased this land for the purpose of building a stadium that could be used by Marshall College and local high school teams. The land was previously used as a commercial gravel pit and a garbage dump. Questions regarding the financial obligations of the Board of Commissioners, Marshall College, and the local high schools soon arose. With each entity being reluctant to finance repairs, the stadium slowly suffered from the consequences of deferred maintenance. In 1962, city inspectors determined that the stadium was unsafe. The stadium was quickly repaired and reopened, while local residents studied plans to renovate the aging stadium.
In 1970 the stadium was completely renovated and AstroTurf was installed onto the playing field. The renovation included new dressing rooms and 6,800 more seats. Tragedy struck later that year, when Southern Airways Flight 932 crashed outside Tri-State Airport, killing all seventy-five passengers. Following the decision to rebuild the team, Fairfield Stadium hosted each of the team's home games-including their first victory in that season.
In 1984, part of the original bleachers that had stood since 1927 were removed and replaced with aluminum bleachers. The last football game in the Fairfield stadium was played on November 10, 1990. While the football team played their home games at the new Joan C. Edwards Stadium, the Marshall soccer teams used Fairfield until 1993. Fairfield Stadium was demolished in 2004 to make room for a new medical center for the Marshall University school of medicine. A plaque commemorated the former stadium at this location while the scoreboard from Fairfield stadium is now located in the parking lot of the original Gino's Pub on 5th Avenue.
“Timeline of Fairfield Stadium.” November 10, 2016. Accessed November 20, 2016. http://www.herald-dispatch.com/sports/marshall_plane_crash/football_history/timeline-of-fairfield-stadium/article_d31cb025-faca-55ee-b4c4-15bc8b4c1791.html.
Casto, James. “Lost Huntington: Fairfield Stadium.” October 11, 2016. Accessed November 20, 2016. http://www.herald-dispatch.com/special/lost_huntington/lost-huntington-fairfield-stadium/article_7a63ce00-1cc4-5f61-840d-de7b32c5bc04.html