History

Historical Timeline

 

Early 1945 - Grand Island Public Schools Board of Education purchased the Old Baptist College Property with the intent to develop an athletic field to replace Ryder Park.

Early spring, 1945 - A group of businessmen gathered for coffee at the Yancey Hotel which sparked the idea for Memorial Stadium. “Grand Island could use a good football stadium,” remarked one businessman while talking about community development and another remarked, “Why not go after one?”

April 11, 1945 - The American Legion agreed to take on campaign responsibility. The campaign committee was appointed by Jess Blogett, Legion Commander with G. Lawrence Gorman, Chairman. The committee included C.E. Grundy, John McCarthy, H.P. Zieg, Arch W. Jarrell and George Armstrong. Armstrong served as Treasurer.

May 1945 - The campaign began and continued through that year. George Winters, General Manager of the Grand Island Daily Independent, pledged the newspaper to $5,000. The Lions Club pledged $1,000 and an anonymous donation of $1,000 brought the pre-campaign giving to $7,000. The Liederkranz then matched the Independent’s gift pledging $5,000. The gifts from the Independent and the Liederkranz were the two lead gifts, however there were 16 other gifts that were $1,000 or more.  

September 2, 1945 - World War II Ends

November 1945 - The City of Grand Island, after much negotiation, agrees to purchase the Ryder Park
property from the Board of Education for $17,800.  

December 1945 - The Campaign total was $77,000 including the proceeds from Ryder Park.

1946 - The campaign continued throughout that year and by the end of 1946 the committee was close to their $90,000 goal.

Early 1947 - The American Legion agreed to put on a final campaign push to bring the fund over the $100,000 mark and Bayard H. Paine Jr., a recently returned World War II Veteran, chaired the committee. That committee completed the job, and the final report showed more than $102,000, all of it raised except the $17,800 paid with the proceeds from selling Ryder Park.  

The stadium was designed by Architect E.G. Schaumberg, Lincoln, NE and constructed in 1947.  

Tuesday, September 16, 1947 - Memorial Stadium was dedicated with 4,000 people in attendance. This was a large crowd considering it was a weeknight and no game was played. The ceremony began with a parade led by the Senior High Marching Band.  

The Invocation was delivered by the Reverend William A. Hubbard of First Methodist Church in Grand Island. The Master of Ceremonies was Arch Jarrell, Editor of the Grand Island Daily Independent. Guardianship of the Memorial Stadium was presented to the Board of Education President, F. Grant Falmlen, in the form of a list of all campaign contributors.

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Nebraska, Robert Simmons was the Principal Speaker. Judge Simmons described the stadium as a “living memorial.” He also praised the City of Grand Island for “following the old American custom of solving its own problems, in its own way, at its own expense.” The Benediction was given by Reverend Leo Keating, Pastor of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Grand Island. A volley by an Army firing squad and playing of the taps followed.

 

 

Grand Island Senior High Football History

September 19th, 1947 - Coach Jerry Lee led the Grand Island Islanders to a 45-0 victory over Norfolk and an undefeated season followed. A name, Bobby Reynolds, flashed onto the football horizon during that first game in Memorial Stadium. The team defeated North Platte to win the Big Ten.

1948 - Grand Island beat Hastings 43-13, Columbus 56-13, Fairbury 52-18, North Platte 46-0, Lincoln Central 53-7, and took the Big Ten play off for a second year in a row on a snowy field at home for a 41-0 victory.

1949 - Grand Island endures their only loss for the season at home to Fremont 20-18.

1956 - According to an article in the Grand Island Daily Independent dated June 22, 1957, “Since its dedication, Grand Island Senior High has won 33 home games and had tied one at Memorial Stadium and it is considered Nebraska’s finest football stadium.”

 

1947 Football Team Members

Jerry Lee, Head Coach
Einer Toft, Assistant Coach
Emerson Inks, Mgr.
Jerry Anderson
Larry Anderson
Elgie Armour
Bob Bachman
Eugene Budde
Larry Carney
Ron Clark
Bob Hann
Lowell Hayman
Duane Hueneke
Howard Jelinek
Bud John
Charles LaMoore
Al Lyon
R.L. Massey
Wally McMullen
Bob Murry
Bill Noble
Eugene Owen
Bob Poppert
Bobby Reynolds
Jed Ryan
Virgil Sawicki
Max Scheel
Mervin Schroeder
Richard Simpson
Dale Toft
Duane Treadway
Neal Wells

 

1948 Football Team Members

Jerry Lee, Head Coach
Einer Toft, Assistant Coach
Richard Bick, Co-Mgr.
Ralph Price, Co-Mgr.
Jerry Anderson
John Anderson
Larry Anderson
Bob Bachman
Eugene Budde
Jerry Carney
Larry Carney
Larry Eatherton
Dick Frauen
Don Frei
Bill Gerbig
Bob Hann
Lowell Hayman
Duane Hueneke
Albert Huffman
Bud John
Lyle Martin
Wally McMullen
Bob Poppert
Bobby Reynolds
Jed Ryan
Mervin Schroeder
John Sebold
James Senkbeil
Richard Simpson
Jack Sinnard
Bob Smaha
Jerry Smith
Rex Treadway