Below is a complete listing of all Ohio Historical Markers. To find a detailed marker listing including text, photographs, and locations, click on a county below. Our listing is updated by the markers program as new markers are installed and older markers are reported damaged or missing.
Side A: Opened in the fall of 1930, Universal Stadium became the home of the Portsmouth Spartans professional football team. Earlier that summer, the Spartans had just become a member of the National Football League (NFL). Led by a few local businessmen, the Portsmouth National Football League Corporation raised money to help build the permanent stadium for the Spartans. The stadium opened on September 14, 1930 as the Spartans defeated the Newark (New Jersey) Tornadoes for their first NFL victory. Ten days later the Spartans played one of the NFL’ s first night games against the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Portsmouth Times said, “Night football has come to stay, at least in Portsmouth.” From 1930 to 1933, the Spartans compiled a record of 19 wins 2 losses and 4 ties at Universal Stadium. (continued on other side)
Side B: (continued from other side) The most famous game played at Universal was on December 4, 1932. The Spartans with just eleven men defeated the world champion Green Bay Packers 19-0. In Portsmouth, the game is simply known as “The Iron Man Game.” In 1934, the franchise was sold and the team moved to Detroit. They were renamed the Detroit Lions. Portsmouth was to become the last small town in Ohio to have a NFL franchise. In August of 1970, the name of the stadium was changed to Spartan Municipal Stadium to honor the NFL team that called Universal Stadium home for four years. It is one of the oldest NFL stadiums still in use, and its field is still used to play football.