Stayman Field, Potomac State College - Keyser WV
Work on Stayman Field began in December 1932 (before the New Deal) with funding from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC). The initial construction was completed in November 1933. The stadium was named after Joseph W. Stayman, the president of Potomac State College from 1921 to 1936.
In December 1933, it was reported that a crew of workers from the New Deal’s Civil Works Administration (CWA) had begun work on the expansion of Stayman Field, from its original “450 feet, by 270, to a long rectangle of 700 feet” (The Pasquino, 12-12-1933). The expansion facilitated better maintenance for the football field, and included a new baseball diamond and “a quarter-mile track, [with] a straightway of 220 yards, the only one in a West Virginia college of that length” (The Pasquino, 12-12-1933).
The creation and expansion of Stayman Field generated much enthusiasm and festivity, both at the college and in the surrounding town of Keyser. The college’s student newspaper declared: “[The athletic field] project represents the most outstanding project in the community… the project was so noteworthy as to receive the approval, both of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, as well as the Civil Works Administration. So, as Potomac gets an athletic field, Keyser gets a public works project, and the land surrounding the project becomes of more potential value, this project becomes, in many senses, one of the most valuable projects of any kind ever started under any governmental project in Keyser” (The Pasquino, 2-21-1934).
The excitement continued to the field’s dedication ceremony and homecoming football game, on Saturday, October 20, 1934: “Potomac’s first homecoming, through the rare combination of sunny skies, an arena fit for an Olympiad, brawny athletes in gold and blue, Legion Drum Corps in brilliant regalia, legislative and collegiate officials, an appreciative multitude [of spectators]… proved a spectacular pageant for the dedication of Stayman Field” (The Pasquino, 10-31-1934). Those in attendance were rewarded with a Potomac State College victory over Shepherd College, 27-6.
In 1940, the New Deal’s National Youth Administration (NYA) built concrete bleachers with a seating capacity of 1,100. This project appears to have been started by an NYA residential program (a type of program where NYA workers lived together and learned skills and trades, such as construction and farming) and was then completed by the NYA’s out-of-school program, employing young workers in the Keyser area.
Stayman Field has changed much in the intervening years—for example, the football program and concrete bleachers no longer exist—but it is still a very active collegiate sports venue and a good example of how the New Deal enhanced the nation’s recreational facilities.
“College Athletic Field Completed,” The Pasquino (Potomac State College, West Virginia), November 18, 1933, p. 3.
“Joseph Stayman Dies In Petersburg Hospital,” Mineral Daily News-Tribune (Keyser, West Virginia), June 18, 1962, p. 15.
“C.W.A. Makes Athletic Field A Great Project,” The Pasquino (Potomac State College, West Virginia), December 12, 1933, p. 1.
“Part-Time Jobs For College Students,” Mineral Daily News and Keyser Tribune (Keyser, West Virginia), February 8, 1934, p. 1.
“C.W.A. Plan Helps Students To Pay Tuition,” The Pasquino (Potomac State College, West Virginia), February 21, 1934, p. 1.
“Fifteen Hundred See Dedication of Stayman Field,” The Pasquino (Potomac State College, West Virginia), October 31, 1934, p. 1.
“Potomac State Dedicates New Field Defeating Shepherd College Rams,” Mineral Daily News (Keyser, West Virginia), October 22, 1934, p. 6.
“Stadium Project Nears Completion,” Mineral Daily News-Tribune (Keyser, West Virginia), May 13, 1940, p. 4.
“From The Editor’s Typewriter… Attend The Potomac State—Shepherd College Game,” The Pasquino (Potomac State College, West Virginia), November 9, 1940, p. 2.
Dinah W. Courrier, Potomac State College, Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2000.
Project originally submitted by Brent McKee on January 10, 2023.
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