Ironton High School, located at 1701 South 7th Street in Ironton, Ohio, was constructed in 1922.2 7 The two-and-a-half story brick structure featured a two-tiered auditorium, greenhouse, indoor swimming pool, gymnasium, cafeteria and library.

The indoor swimming pool was converted into a miniature gymnasium in the 1940’s.7 In 1975, a new gymnasium was constructed to the west of the existing school building.2

A 3,112-seat football stadium, completed on Thanksgiving Day 1926 at a cost of $33,500, was one of the few stadiums in the state to feature a roof.3 4 The stadium was constructed for the high school but was also host to the Ironton Tanks, a powerhouse in professional football from 1919 to 1931.3

The Tanks, named for the large number of World War I veterans on the team and for their rugged style of play, beat teams such as the New York Giants and the Chicago Bears. The team posted an 85-19-14 record in 12 seasons. It merged with the Portsmouth Spartans who later became the Detroit Lions.3

The stadium also hosted the Ironton St. Joe Flyers, then the smallest football team in the state. The Tanks Stadium received a historical landmark designation on June 22, 2002, and a marker was designated to the site by the Ohio Historical Society and the Ohio Bicentennial Committee in front of a crowd of 400.3


Facing mounting maintenance issues and an aging building that required renovation, the Ironton school board requested funding for renovations of the high school in July 2001.5 The estimated cost of the renovations was $26,782,070 and would have included roof repairs and interior restorations. The state would provide more than $20 million granted the city taxpayers would pick up the remainder through a $6.73 million school bond levy for renovations.

Placed up to the will of the voters in 2007, the majority opted for a new structure instead of renovations and passed a levy for construction.11

The revised project would save the front entrance,1 6 8 with its elaborate marble entryway and brass detailing,and a side entrance. The 30-year-old gymnasium, Tanks Stadium 2 and various fixtures from the former school, including ornate details from the exterior, would also be spared. The former ticket booth to the auditorium was removed for use in the new facility.

The original 1922 structure was vacated on May 27, 2007 and asbestos abatement began in August.10 Bids were opened on September 25 for selective demolition of the building,1 with the low bid going to J&H Reinforcing and Structural Erectors at a cost of $1.75 million.7

Demolition on the old high school began in November 7 8 and work was completed in February 2010.9

[stag_toggle style=”normal” title=”Sources” state=”closed”]
  1. Moore, Teresa. “Bids opened for Ironton demolition, construction.” Ironton Tribune 26 Sept. 2007.
  2. Malloy, David E. “Ironton school officials push levy.” Herald-Dispatch (Huntington) 27 July 2005.
  3. Stephens, Tim. “Tanks goes down in history.” Herald-Dispatch (Huntington) 22 July 2002.
  4. Malloy, David E. “Tanks takes place in history.” Herald-Dispatch (Huntington) 18 July 2002.
  5. Malloy, David E. “State won’t pay to fix Ironton schools.” Herald-Dispatch (Huntington) 28 July 2001.
  6. Moore, Teresa. “Progress being made at Ironton schools.” Ironton Tribune 14 Oct. 2008. 11 Nov. 2008.
  7. Heath, Benita. “Ironton schools coming down.” Ironton Tribune 21 Jan. 2008. 11 Nov. 2008.
  8. Moore, Teresa. “School construction to be complete in 2009.” Ironton Tribune 8 Dec. 2008. 11 Nov. 2008.
  9. Malloy, David E. “Ironton school projects under way.” Herald-Dispatch (Huntington) 12 July 2007. 11 Nov. 2008.
  10. Malloy, David E. “Ironton to open school project bids on April 24.” Herald-Dispatch (Huntington) 27 March 2007. 11 Nov. 2008.
  11. Moore, Teresa. “Community gets chance for final high school tour.” Ironton Tribune 16 May 2007. 11 Nov. 2008.