Many people who grew up or lived in Waterloo have fond memories of Sloane Wallace Stadium, the former historic home of East and West High School football games.
One month from now, the iconic facility that has been the landmark of a local neighborhood for 99 years, will no longer be a part of the city's landscape. On Monday, the Waterloo School District's Board of Education finalized plans to demolish the aging structure when it approved a contract for Benton's Sand and Gravel of Cedar Falls to tear down Sloane Wallace Stadium at a cost of just under $119,000.
The decision to raze the structure was made last month, when the board voted to seek bids for the demolition. District officials said then they plan to memorialize the stadium in some way.
Sloane Wallace Stadium, located behind Irving Elementary School, hosted local high school football games for more than seven decades. The Trojans and Wahawks both played there until 1994, when Waterloo Memorial Stadium opened next to Central Middle School.
Waterloo Central also played home games at Sloane Wallace from 1972 until 1988, when district officials closed the high school and converted the building into a middle school. For a time, Don Bosco in Gilbertville also played home games at the iconic structure.
In later years, Sloane Wallace Stadium was used mainly as a soccer facility after East and West started their programs in the mid-1990s. The final event held there was in May, a rugby tournament hosted by Cedar Falls High School.
There has been plenty of history made at Sloane Wallace Stadium over the years, but the clock is ticking on the ancient facility. Sloane Wallace Stadium is scheduled to be demolished by Aug. 12.
At this week's board meeting, Waterloo Schools' officials announced plans to host an open house at the iconic venue before crews tear it down. For anyone interested in getting one last look at the stadium, the event is scheduled for July 20 from 5 to 7 PM.
Sloane Wallace Stadium (1922-2021)
Many people who grew up in Waterloo have fond memories of Sloane Wallace Stadium. The facility was originally called Locust Street Field when it opened in 1922, built as part of a larger construction project that included a new multi-story West Side High School at 1115 West 5th Street.
Locust Street Field's name was later changed to honor Sloane Wallace, a Hopkinton native who served as West High School's principal from 1905 to 1923 and as superintendent of the west side's Independent School District of Waterloo from 1923 until pneumonia caused his death in 1926.
Several local football legends honed and displayed their skills on the field at Sloane Wallace Stadium. Two of the most-well known athletes were Don Perkins and Reggie Roby, who both had long careers in the National Football League. Perkins played for West in the 1950s and is now a member of the Dallas Cowboys' Ring of Honor. Roby played for East from 1977 to 1979 and was the first recruit who signed to play for legendary coach Hayden Fry when he was hired at the University of Iowa. Many fans remember Roby's booming punts and kicks, which often left the stadium.
Another local legend who played at Sloane Wallace Stadium was Jerry Moses, considered by many to be the best athlete among the many who played for East during the school's record-setting 55-game win streak (56 without a loss). The Trojans' began their streak at Sloane Wallace with a victory over West in the final game of the 1968 season. The streak also ended there when East suffered a 7-6 loss to Sioux City East in the 1972 season opener.
Two of the biggest games in the storied history of the East-West rivalry series were played at Sloane Wallace Stadium during the Trojans' streak. Top-ranked East beat the No. 6 Wahawks 32-23 in 1969 and both teams were undefeated in 1970 when the No. 1 Trojans beat No. 3 West 20-9 in a game that was televised by KWWL. The crowd at each game was estimated at more than 10,000.
Sloane Wallace Stadium's use a primary facility ended in 1994 when Memorial Stadium opened next to Central Middle School.
The iconic Waterloo facility is scheduled to be demolished before Aug. 12, 2021.
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