Ridge Road Stadium received very little usage. In 1950, the Parma Recreation Department uses the stadium area for summer baseball games. Football games are still played at Parma Schaaf High School.
(Parma Schaaf High School in 1952. The football field is directly behind the school and was the home to the Redmen football team. Photos courtesy of the Parma Alumni Association.)
1950 - 1951:
Construction begins on the new Parma Senior High School in 1951. Schools superintendent Carl C. Byers, proposes a plan to rehabilitate the Ridge Road stadium so that the future Parma Senior High School, which will be finished in 1953, will have a first-class facility. Byers felt that a lot of money could be saved by renovating the stadium instead of building a new one. In addition, if Parma was to gain admission into the respected Lake Erie League, it needed a first-class facility.
Parma begins competition in the Lake Erie League. Renovations begin on Ridge Road Stadium, which ensured entry into the competitive league. 1952 would be the last year of competition at Parma Schaaf.
(Ridge Road Stadium in the early 1950s. Construction underway on the east stands. The east stands were at that time for the smaller visitor crowds. Note: lights have yet to be installed.)
As Parma Senior High School opens its doors for students in the fall of 1953, renovations on the stadium are completed.
Seating capacity is increased to 5,000 and lights are added for night games. Parma Schaaf High School’s track team competes there for the first time during the spring and beats Lorain 63 to 55.
The Parma School Board, at the urging of Parma Post Editor/Publisher Walter Johns, passes a resolution officially renaming Ridge Road Stadium as Byers Field, in honor of Carl Byers who spearheaded the renovation efforts. After the resolution passes, the Board later revokes the action, because it doesn’t feel the stadium should be named after someone who is still living. Finally, the Board accepts its previous decision.
The stadium is dedicated on October 9 during the Parma vs. Euclid football game. Parma Senior High’s and Byers Field’s first homecoming queen, Carol Kneebusch, is struck down by polio prior to the homecoming game. Claire Justice stands in for her at midfield as Carol accepts her crown at her hospital bed.
(PHOTO: Byers Field after completion of renovations in 1953. Ridge Road School can be seen directly next to the stadium, just west of Ridge Road. This picture was taken before the completion of the Parmatown Shopping Plaza - which opened in 1956. Additionally, Day Drive has not been constructed. The words "BYERS FIELD" are across the easternmost entrance to the field.)
The Parma Redmen Football team goes undefeated on their way to the first LEL football championship in the district's history. This would start a string of four straight LEL Championships for the Redmen. According to football player Bruno Tommasini, fans were lined up six people deep on the track with the stands full during the heated game vs. Rhodes.
(PHOTO TOP: Parma Senior High School's student newspaper, the Parma Hi-Spot, headlines the championship season achieved by the Redmen in 1958.)
(PHOTO BOTTOM: Students and fans celebrate the securing of the LEL Championship during the second to last game versus Euclid. Both photos courtesy of the Parma Alumni Association.)