The story of a forgotten America.

Ironton High School

Ironton High School is an active school in Ironton, Ohio that was partly demolished and rebuilt between 2007 and 2010.


Ironton High School was constructed in 1922 and featured a two-tiered auditorium, a greenhouse, an indoor swimming pool, a gymnasium, a cafeteria, and a library. 2 7 A 3,112-seat football stadium was completed on Thanksgiving Day in 1926 at the cost of $33,500 and was one of the few stadiums in the state to feature a partial roof. 3 4 While built for the high school, the stadium doubled as the home of the Ironton Tanks, a powerhouse in professional football between 1919 to 1931. 3

The Tanks, named for a large number of World War I veterans that served on the team and for their rugged style of play, bested teams such as the New York Giants and the Chicago Bears. 3 The Tanks posted an 85-19-14 record in 12 seasons. It later merged with the Portsmouth Spartans who later became the Detroit Lions. The stadium also hosted the Ironton St. Joe Flyers, then the smallest football team in the state.

The indoor swimming pool was converted into a small gymnasium in the 1940s. 7 A new multi-purpose gymnasium was constructed to the west of the existing school building in 1975. 2


In July 2001, the school board requested funding to renovate the high school, citing a maintenance backlog and a building that was not up to modern accessibility requirements. 5 The estimated cost of the renovations was $26,782,070, which would have included a new roof and extensive interior restorations. The state would finance more than $20 million of the project, with the remainder financed by a school bond levy. A citywide vote in 2007 favored the construction of a new high school building instead of extensive renovations, 11 and the construction of a new middle school and a new elementary school at the cost of $52 million. 12 The state-financed $34 million for the project while city residents were on the hook for $18 million in property taxes for the next 20 years.

Planning for the new high school building began shortly after, which entailed the salvaging of the front entrance, which featured an elaborate marble entryway and brass detailing. 1 6 7 8 A side entrance, the Tanks Stadium, 2 the circa 1975 gymnasium, the ticket booth to the auditorium, and various fixtures from the old school would also be saved.

The circa 1922 high school was vacated on May 27, 2007, with asbestos abatement beginning in August. 10 Bids were opened for construction on September 25 1 and demolition on the old high school began in November. 7 8 The new school was mostly complete by February 2010. 9 Students began using the new Ironton High School building on August 18, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and follow-up tour held on August 26. 12



  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.
  12. Malloy, David E. “Ironton High officially opens doors to new school.” Herald-Dispatch [Huntington], 27 Aug. 2010.

1 Comment

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It should be against the law to demolish historic buildings like this. This building should have been listed on the list of Historical structures and preserved. The renovations, yes very expensive are worth every penny when it comes to saving buildings like this without having to loose the historical architecture of the building.

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