When Wooster High School formed its first football team in 1899 the players practiced at the old athletic field behind the original high school. When that high school was torn down and a new, larger high school was built in 1923, there was no longer adequate space for practice on the property. Although the players tried practicing in the school park, the trees interfered. The team did hold weekly scrimmages at the College of Wooster stadium where most of the home games were played.

Eventually the players learned of a green space in the "Christmas Run bottom" — a vacant lot located in the West Bowman Street basin. At the time, the property owner had already leased the land to a neighbor who pastured his cow there. The neighbor’s cow wasn’t happy when the football players showed up to practice there.

A football program from the Sept. 16, 1949, game between Wooster and Painesville, stated the following: "The football team — besides ruining the light grass — had scared the cow so that she refused to give milk. Superintendent G.C. Maurer, promising that he would look into the matter, set off for the valley. There he found the team hard at work and determined it was a perfect site for an athletic field."

Maurer quickly appealed to the board of education asking them to purchase the land for a practice field and stadium. Within a few weeks the purchase was made.

"Christmas Run," explained the article, "flowed through the center of the field and the first problem was to straighten it out. Then the field had to be plowed and seeded. Three men and their horses gave up the job because the land was literally stone. Finally a man with a tractor finished the job and the land became green. The sides of the hills were planted and the bleachers erected. The first dedication service was held in 1926, Wooster playing Millersburg."

In 1933 the field was named for Maurer who served the school system as superintendent for 20 years ... from 1912-1932.

Company E

At the beginning of the Civil War in April 1861 the citizens of Wooster and Wayne County shared patriotic excitement with the rest of the northern states. Recruiting began immediately and the first 111 volunteers from Wayne County made up the first military company which was incorporated into Ohio’s Fourth Regiment as Company E.

FYI

When the second Wayne County Courthouse was torn down in 1877, old timbers from the cupola and bell tower were made into walking canes which sold for 30 cents each.

Thought you should know.

Columnist Ann Gasbarre can be reached at agasbarre@gmail.com or 330-345-6419.