Throwback Thursday by Matson Insurance: Spaces for Sport

Matson Insurance is partnering with Jefferson County History Center to offer readers a look into Jefferson County’s past. Today, “Spaces for Sport” is being showcased.

[Pictured above: When Joe Barnett coached the Brookville High School team in the thirties, they played on Allgeier field. (JCHS Collection)]


Traveling west on I-80, drivers and passengers who look to the north see the green oval of an athletic field surrounded by the deep red track. The opposing sets of bleachers rise on either side. East of the competitive athletic field are practice areas for a variety of sports, all carefully cared for by the maintenance staff.

A century ago, of course, when sports like football were just making their way into the lives of high school boys, there was no I-80 and the present school campus was the farmland of Vaughn Hawk.

Instead, Brookville students attended the old Central School that perched upon “knowledge knob,” where the Northside Park is today. The original building was built in 1878 to educate students in grades 1 through 8. The high school organized in 1883 and the first graduating class earned diplomas in 1886. It took time for athletics to develop at the high school, but enthusiasm for the game that had begun at Yale in 1876 was growing and in 1893 Brookville High School organized a football team. Where did these players play?

In 1898 the Central School building expanded with the addition of the Paul Darling Memorial Hall. It included 4 classrooms and an auditorium but no gymnasium. The first annex added in 1923 included 6 more classrooms and 2 labs. A second annex in 1928 added 5 more classrooms, a library, a gymnasium, and a domestic science area. Photographs exist of these buildings, but it is difficult to know the layout of the exterior property. Was there ever a football field on “knowledge knob?”

Local newspapers didn’t devote a full section to sports then, but a 1904 column listing local happenings briefly reports that the Brookville High School team had defeated a team from Clarion Normal (then a two-year teacher training school) on Allgeier’s Meadow. The Allgeiers had a brewery on Race Street, and a phone call to a descendent reassured us that we can assume those early football games were played on the flat land on the south side of the Red Bank.

[email protected] County Historical Society, Inc.

Throwback Thursday is brought to you by Matson Insurance in Brookville.


Submitted by the Jefferson County History Center.

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