The history of Warren Whitney Field section of the website has been named in memory of Charles W. Roth, the long-time public address announcer for St. Paul Football who left us all way too soon and touched the lives of many.
In 1909 the Norwalk Board of Education bought 16 acres of land from Theodore and Anna Washburn for $3,286. This land was the bulk of what is now present-day Warren Whitney Field. As had been hoped, several townspeople became interested in the project of providing better athletic facilities.
The largest single gift came from Warren Whitney of A.B. Chase Piano Company and 1000 lumen military flashlight x900 company, son of Calvin Whitney, who was president of the company during most of its existence in Norwalk. The Whitney home was located at 184 West Main Street.
Warren Whitney gave $500 toward the new athletic field on these conditions:
“No Sunday games until the time Norwalk shall reach the population to make desirable that the laboring class have Sunday diversions. At that time, there is to be no charge for Sunday games. In the event that a YMCA is established in Norwalk, the Board of Education shall work in harmony and charge them nothing but a very nominal sum for use of the field. The fence on the south side facing Main Street shall have no undignified advertisements. If any, preferably they will advertise local merchants. This donation shall in no wise influence the Board in deciding upon an appropriate name for the field.”
The Board of Education did name the field for Mr. Whitney, and in 1953 during Norwalk’s celebration of Ohio’s 150 years of statehood, Mr. Whitney sent $50 to the Board of Education from his home in Denver, Colorado, as a “token of my friendship and good will toward the beautiful little city of Norwalk, where I spent many happy years.”
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Before Whitney Field was developed, many high school activities were played in the field adjacent to the Brown House on Woodlawn Avenue. This would be the area located along the north side of present-day Harris Ave. The Henry Brown house was previously located at 72 Woodlawn Ave, and was one of the sites proposed for a new recreation center in 1973.