Main entrance to the Russellville High School football stadium, built in 1939 by the WPA.  Logan County.  October 26, 2005.  5:42 p.m. EDT.

*Home
*2005 index page
*Standalone photo

     Rhea Stadium, built in 1938-39 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), is a point of pride for Russellville High School, and for the entire town.  With seating for more than 2,500, Rhea Stadium was huge for its time, especially for a small-town high school.  The bleacher section is poured concrete, and a high stone wall borders the stadium more than 100 yards along the front and then all the way down one side.  The centerpiece of the structure is the main entrance, in the above photo.  It's also poured concrete; and as was common with many WPA-built structures (at least in Kentucky), it was formed in art deco style.
     Poking out from either side of the entranceway are concrete sculptures of the heads of six famous athletes of the day:  Jack Dempsey, Jim Thorpe, Ty Cobb, Paavo Nurmi, Red Grange and Babe Ruth.  In the more than 65 years since Rhea Stadium was built, the sculptures have been damaged--mostly by the elements, but surely also by vandals.  This is, after all, a high school football stadium, and Russellville High School has a number of sports rivals in the area.
     On the opposite side of the entrance building, the side facing the football field, was the press box.  It since has been rebuilt and updated, but many of the details remain.  See the links to photos, below.

    Rhea Stadium was named for Thomas S. Rhea, a prominent Russellville Democratic politician of the time.

______________________________
Other photos:
     George Goodman (1876-1961), who was director of the WPA in Kentucky, photographed several views of the stadium soon after it was built.  These photos are available on the Kentuckiana Digital Library website.
.

     *Full view of the entrance, same view as the above photo.
     *Sculptures on the left side of the entrance.
     *Sculptures on the right side of the entrance.
     *View from the other side, showing the press box and the bleachers.

.

     Here are links to closeup photos of the sculptures, as they look today:
     *Jack Dempsey
     *Jim Thorpe
     *Ty Cobb
     *Paavo Nurmi
     *Red Grange
     *Babe Ruth

     .............--Caption information from Encarta

______________________________
Posted November 6, 2005.