Marshfield Athletics: The building of Beell
By Kris Leonhardt
As the Marshfield School District prepares to make improvements to their athletic facilities, the Marshfield Hub City Times takes a look at the district’s sports programs and facilities over the years.
Following the 1940 completion of the Senior High building on Fourth Street to replace McKinley High, the city had secured a Works Progress Administration (WPA) grant.
As part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, WPA grants were designed to provide community jobs to the unemployed during the Great Depression. Community grant funds were used to build new parks, bridges, and buildings. Here, in Marshfield, $127,637 was provided for the landscaping and construction of the Senior High grounds.
Funds were used for a variety of athletic facilities amenities, including tennis courts and hockey rinks, as well as foliage and decorative landscaping on the grounds.
An intricate storm sewer system was installed, as well as an underground watering system. The water system provided the flooding for two hockey fields and a sprinkler system for a stadium-size football field.
Constructed to be one of the finest high school stadiums in the state, the new football field would be the pride of the community for many years.
Salvaged brick from the McKinley High building was retained to construct a masonry spectator seating structure that would accommodate several thousand people. Adding to its contemporary feel was the addition of eight flood lights to illuminate night games.
The football stadium was completed in time for the start of the 1941 season. Halftime of the first home game featured State Senator Melvin R. Laird as the keynote speaker and Mayor George Leonhard.
The stadium was named for local hero Fred A. Beell, the only Marshfield police officer to die in the line of duty. Beell was killed Aug. 5, 1933, while responding to a burglary call at the Marshfield Brewery.
Next week: Cheerleading and early ladies sports
A special thanks to the MHS Athletic Department for providing the material for this series. For more information on the school district’s current athletic facility project, visit www.marshfieldschools.org. To donate, contact the Marshfield Area Community Foundation at 715-384-9029.