KISER FIELD

 

The land where the new Kiser PK-8 School was built (behind the Kiser High building) was once the scene of many a titanic struggle for City of Dayton high school football teams.  Kiser home football field, formally designated Athletic Field, is remembered by veteran football followers as the infamous “Smoke Bowl.”  Situated between the school building and the North-South railroad tracks of the B&O railroad (switching area directly behind Deeds Ave), fans in the stands were often showered by soot from the coal-burning locomotives of passing trains.  At time under certain wind conditions, play had to be halted to permit the smoke to blow away. 

Nicknamed “The Smoke Bowl”, the Kiser Athletic Field was one of the finest football fields in southern Ohio for nearly 20 years.  Built as a cooperative effort between the Board of Education and the athletics departments of Steele and Kiser High Schools, the field was dedicated on Saturday, September 21, 1929 with a doubleheader; Kiser vs Lanier and Steele vs Newport, Ky.  all for the price of one.  For years it was the home field for both Kiser and Steele. 

The Kentucky bluegrass playing surface was planted three months prior to the opening game.  The field did not require artificial drainage as it was built on approximately two feet of gravel and had a crown of 16 inches from the center to the sideline.  This allowed a game to be played on a dry field several hours after an intense rain.  In addition to the football field which had a seating capacity of 8,000, a practice field, 14 in. ball fields (softball) and tennis courts were built.   The running track that surrounded the playing field was approximately ¼ mile in length with two 100 yard straight- a-ways. 

After Welcome Stadium was built for all city schools in 19949, “The Smoke Bowl” was used as a practice field and for freshman and reserve games.  The stands were eventually torn down.  Most of Kiser’s greatest football triumphs and championships were won on this field where North Dayton residents packed the house and cheered for their team. For over 50 years, Kiser boys ran on the bluegrass turf, jogged the cinder track and many inhaled smoke from passing locomotives as they practiced and played football for Kiser High School.