It's time to say "good-bye" to an aging Cedar Valley landmark.
Today, Waterloo Schools officials are hosting an open house and closing ceremony for venerable Sloane Wallace Stadium, the grand old structure at 1115 W. 5th St. in Waterloo that used to come to life on Friday night's every fall when East, West and the now-closed Central High School played football games at home. The open house, scheduled from 5-7 PM, will provide the district's alumni and community members a last chance to see the facility before it's shuttered and demolished. A ceremony focusing on the stadium's storied history is set to start at 6 PM.
Many people who grew up or lived in Waterloo have fond memories of Sloane Wallace Stadium. Whether they played football, marched in the band or cheered for their team (either from the sidelines or stands), anyone who was part of a game there has lasting recollections of the times they spent at the stadium.
Sadly, memories will soon be all that are left of the historic venue. Demolition of the 99-year-old facility will begin almost immediately after the open house and closing ceremony. Demolition work is scheduled to be complete before the start of the upcoming school year, likely around Aug. 12.
Earlier this month, the Waterloo School District's Board of Education finalized plans to raze the stadium when it approved a demolition contract for a Cedar Falls company to tear down Sloane Wallace Stadium at a cost of just under $119,000.
District officials have indicated that they plan to memorialize the stadium in some way. Preliminary talks centered around possibly keeping the scoreboard and using it as a token of the venue's glorious history. There have also been suggestions to build the Sloane Wallace Stadium tribute at Waterloo Memorial Stadium, where more people will see it.
Built in 1922, Sloane Wallace Stadium hosted local high school football games for more than seven decades. The East Trojans and West Wahawks both played home games there until 1994, when Waterloo Memorial Stadium opened next to Central Middle School. The Waterloo Central Chargers also played their home games at Sloane Wallace from 1972 until 1988, when district officials converted the building from a high school into a middle school.
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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