Russellville stadium.

Extruded Heads of 1930s Sports Stars

Field review by the editors.

Russellville, Kentucky

Russellville High School is football-crazy now, and it was football-crazy on November 23, 1939, when it played its first game in its snazzy new stadium. The elegant art deco entrance cost a lot of money, but Russellville was lucky: home-towner Tom Rhea was also a Kentucky political kingpin, and his three sons were all on the Russellville team. Rhea pulled strings, and the government's Works Progress Administration (WPA) built Russellville's new stadium.

Russellville stadium.

Flanking the entrance are six heads, jutting over the sidewalk. Sculpted by an unknown artist, chosen by an unknown criteria, the heads are of six sports superstars circa 1939: Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb (baseball), Jim Thorpe and Paavo Nurmi (track and field), Red Grange (football), and Jack Dempsey (boxing). Nurmi and Thorpe are identified only by their last names, while Dempsey's name is displaced in favor of his nickname, "Manassa Mauler." In a show of true sportsmanship, none of the six is from Kentucky.

Russellville High School still plays its games in its 1939 stadium. The heads were patched in 2002, and the stadium was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008 -- and as long as Russellville loves football, its sports superstar heads will be looked after.

Red Grange head.

Extruded Heads of 1930s Sports Stars

Rhea Stadium

Address:
E. 9th St, Russellville, KY
Directions:
At the entrance to Russellville Stadium. South side of town. On the north side of E. 9th St. Just east of S. Summer St.
Admission:
Free
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Nearby Offbeat Places

Lightning Portrait of Startled Lady BatherLightning Portrait of Startled Lady Bather, Russellville, KY - < 1 mi.
Fork in the RoadFork in the Road, Franklin, KY - 20 mi.
Jefferson Davis MonumentJefferson Davis Monument, Fairview, KY - 23 mi.
In the region:
Herd of Buffalo Statues, Nashville, TN - 46 mi.

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