POMEROY, Ohio — Sometime after 10 o’clock on Friday night the lights will go out for the last time at Bob Roberts Field in Pomeroy. The field and stadium nestled neatly in a hollow just off East Main Street was the home of the Pomeroy Purple Panthers from 1950-1966, and the home of the Meigs Marauders from 1967 to present.
The field for years was the gem of football fields in Southeastern Ohio. It was know for the hillside on two sides of the field, and the grandstand on the home sideline, and it gave fans a look of a horseshoe.
On March 17, 1941 the Pomeroy Board of Education got the ball rolling on a new field when they adopted a resolution to purchase 13.4 acres from Helen B. and Ralston Russell for $13,500.
On September 3RD the Board of Education voted to ask the voters to issue a bond for $61,000 and the Bond Issue carried by a 3-1 margin. The board signed with an Athens architect, but in May of 1942 the project was given a severe set-back when Federal Aid Projects were cut back.
On February 5, 1946 the board made an application with the Federal Works Agency, and the loan application was approved on April 2, 1946. The architect was then authorized to proceed with the plans.
On October 11, 1948 the board purchased part of the Koehler property adjacent to the Russell property. On May 23, 1949 the work actually began on the field, and on October 3, 1949 the grading was completed and grass was sown. On July 14, 1950 the board hired Desmonies Steel Company to build the grandstand and the Pomeroy Cement Block Company to erect the chain link fence. The lights were erected and the ticket booths completed in September of 1950.
The first game was played against Wellston and the Panthers won by a 12-0 score with a paid of admission of 1,607 on September 29, 1950, climaxing the nine year project. Seats were only available for 799 fans. The rest of the crowd stood on the hillside or around the field.
Up until this point Pomeroy played their home games at the home of their rival the Middleport Yellow Jackets.
The stadium construction was started on October 5, 1950 and finished on October 14. The electric scoreboard was erected by the athletic boosters on October 12.
Dedication of the new field was held on November 3rd against Gallipolis. Heavy rain held down the crowd in a 19-0 Gallipolis win, the wet weather took its toll on the new field as there was 13 fumbles between the two teams, 10 by the Panthers.
Locker rooms were constructed by the Pomeroy Athletic Boosters in the summer of 1962 or 1963. The project was led by Bill Porter, Ed Arnold, Reno Lind and football coach Charles Chancey. Before this time the visiting team dressed on the stage at the Pomeroy Junior High School, while the home team dressed in a building behind the High School which recently was the Pomeroy City Hall.
In the Mid 1960s, the schools of Pomeroy, Middleport and Rutland consolidated into Meigs High school and the field became the home of the Meigs Marauders. The field was home of the Southeastern Athletic Champions the first year of the Marauders.
On September 7, 1990 the field was rededicated and named after longtime educator, coach and athletic booster Robert “Bob” Roberts. The field still carries his name.
The new complex located on the campus of Meigs High School was started over four years ago when former Marauder star Mike Bartrum retired from the National Football League. Bartrum got together with former Marauder standouts Frank Blake and Steve Musser to get the ball rolling. From their committee’s of volunteers got us to where we are today.
In 1950 it took nine years to complete the field, this time it has taken four years to reach the dream.