The Ohio League Trail
This trail takes people though the various locations of the Ohio League, a forerunner to the National Football League
Following World War I, the state of Ohio was at the center of the football world. Many communities boasted professional or semi-pro teams, but few teams enjoyed success equal to that of the Ironton Tanks. Originally one of two semi-pro teams which called Ironton home, the Tanks would excel on the field, becoming a dominant team in the period from 1919 to 1930. The team’s popularity increased, they became a great source of civic pride. Fan-support for the Tanks was so strong that a group of boosters raised the capital required to build the Tanks a home stadium. Opening in 1926, Tanks Memorial Stadium would host future NFL All-Pro’s and a Hall of Fame honoree. With the gradual decline of the Tanks and other small town professional football teams, Tanks Memorial Stadium became the home of the Ironton High School football team. Recognizing the historic significance of the stadium, the Ohio Historical Society placed an official marker outside the stadium in 2002.
Triangle Park is a former American football stadium that is located in Dayton, Ohio. Construction of the stadium finished in 1917 and could seat 5,000 spectators and accommodated the Dayton Triangles, football team. Former basketball players from St. Mary's College, now known as the University of Dayton, made up most of the early team. The team competed against several Ohio teams, and eventually joined the American Professional Football Association. Currently, Triangle Park is now a park in the city of Dayton and is formally known as Triangle Park Pavilion.
This amusement park resided in the university district of Columbus, Ohio from 1905 to 1937. Affluent businessmen Charles Miles and Frederick Ingersoll designed and owned the park. The park became the home field for the Columbus Panhandles football team for half a decade. The team left for Neil Park in 1916 for unknown reasons. The attraction flourished until 1920 when new owners bought the park and remodeled it. In 1927, the park sold some of its lands to the Columbus Board of Education for the construction of the Indianola Junior High School. The park struggled due to the Great Depression and failed to attract enough visitors to stay open.
Constructed on May 29, 1897, Armory Park became a popular attraction for the city of Toledo. The park housed several sports teams, including the Toledo Athletic Association football team. The park also housed the Toledo Mud Hens. The Toledo Athletic Association lasted from 1902 till 1906, where the team moved locations. However, another football team under the Toledo Athletic Association called the Toledo Maroons, a professional football team, took up residence in the park. The Maroons played in the Ohio League between 1902 until 1921. However, the team only played on the Armory Park field until 1908. The Armory Park is the first Toledo ballpark that photographs have to know to survive. Fire and arson destroyed most of Armory Park in 1934. The city demolished the rest of the park a few years later. Today space is occupied by the Toledo Municipal Courthouse.
Constructed in 1909, Swayne Field accommodated several minor league baseball teams in Toledo, Ohio. The field also served as the home of the Toledo Maroons football team. The team moved from Armory Park to Swayne Field in 1909. The Maroons called this field home for 13 years. The team struggled to acquire an audience in Toledo. The Maroons had little success over the years as a professional team. The field stood for 46 years in Toledo, until the city demolished the venue in 1955. The field was named after the son of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Noah Haynes Swayne, who donated the land for the ballpark. The site is now home to the Swayne Field Shopping Center.
League Park opened on May 1, 1891 as the home of the Cleveland Spiders. The Spiders were the predecessor of today's Cleveland Indians. The Cleveland Buckeyes of the Negro Leagues also played here. It was the site of many baseball firsts but fell into decay when the Indians moved to Cleveland Stadium. League Park was torn down in 1951 but underwent a renovation project beginning in 2011.
Luna Park opened in 1905 as the second in an international chain of amusement parks, created and financed by Frederick Ingersoll. Ingersoll made his living being an American entrepreneur who created the world's first chain of amusement parks. The park featured a carousel, a Ferris wheel, roller coasters, a dance hall, and a massive stadium. The stadium housed two football teams, the Cleveland Panthers and Cleveland Bulldogs. Both teams played in the Ohio League, a forerunner to the National Football League. Unfortunately, the park struggled to stay afloat during Prohibition and the Great Depression. The park no longer stands as fire and arson destroyed most of the park, while the city dismantled the remaining rides. The housing Complex Woodhill Homes now sits on the spot where the park used to reside.
League Park refers to former American football and baseball stadiums in Akron, Ohio. League Park opened in 1906 and became the home of the Akron Pros football team in 1916. The 5,000-seat stadium also featured the Akron Yankees of the Middle Atlantic League. The Akron Pros called the park home for a decade until 1926. The city of Toledo replaced League Park with a second League Park in 1926. The second park featured a sharp drop-off directly behind the left-field fence. Outfielders used the lower fence as a ramp to catch fly balls, while ground balls hit to the fence could roll up and over the fence. A new rule was enacted that declared balls that rolled over the fence a ground-rule double, rather than a home run.
Construction of Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium began in the spring of 2015 and should be completed by 2017. Prior to renovation and reconstruction, Fawcett Stadium stood at this location and hosted numerous historic games, including the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame game. The original stadium at this location dates back to the 1920s, an era when Canton and many other area cities had their own pro football team.
Built by the Youngstown Park and Falls Street Railway Company, Idora Park was an urban amusement park with Colonial Revival, Moderne, and Italianate architecture in Youngstown, Ohio. After opening on Memorial Day in 1899, the park experienced rapid success in the first half of the 20th century and became a major regional attraction with rides, a ballroom, and a fenced-in baseball field. Economic changes in the 1970s and a devastating fire on April 26, 1984 led to Idora Park shuttering its doors at the end of the 1984 summer season. The land remains unused but surviving artifacts can be found in Canfield, Ohio and Brooklyn, New York.