This Thanksgiving the Newburyport High School football team will have the opportunity to play its traditional rivalry game against Amesbury High School on the newly renovated turf field atop of Mt Rural. Mt Rural, as the hill was called where the magnificent NHS now sits, is home to one of the grandest high school stadiums in the entire state, World War Memorial Stadium. Built in 1930, during FDR’s administration, the stadium took three years to build and employed many men during the Great Depression.
My grandmother was a member of the first freshman class at NHS and was able to enjoy this amazing stadium from the very beginning. The building of this stadium gave the community a newfound sense of pride and the entire community would come out each weekend for the games, seating as many as 8,000 fans in the stadium! Over the years, the stadium has been home to concerts, various sporting events, numerous NHS graduations, as well as community events.
The stadium was built for longevity, however, after over 60 years, in 1999, the visitor side of the stands were deemed unsafe and the wear and tear of the years of usage started to show. A group of concerned alumni, parents and community members decided to form a group called RESTORE and set off on a long journey to raise the necessary funds to renovate the stands and provide todays students with a state of the art turf field.
It took over 10 years, but this Thanksgiving we can all join together to celebrate the efforts of the RESTORE group and watch the historic game vs Amesbury on our new field. The new field will be dedicated to legendary football coach and long time Athletic Director, Jim Stehlin, who was around when I was at NHS. The history behind NHS and the entire City of Newburyport continues on for all to remember and enjoy! Happy Thanksgiving!