Bristol Tennessee High School and the Castle Stadium: PWA, TERA, and WPA on the job for the nation


A magnificent example of Colonial Revival style set within a New South industrial townscape, the Bristol Tennessee High School has been an educational and cultural landmark since its construction. (Carroll Van West, Tennessee’s New Deal Landscape, 2001, p. 124)

Features of this building, one of the two best extant examples of New Deal Colonial Revival architecture include two-story classical columns, portico, classical pediment, cupola, and fanlights with keystones at the entrance doors (Van West).

Senator Kenneth D. McKellar, Bristol mayor Fred V. Vance, and city commissioner Arthur Green had all been instrumental in bringing New Deal projects to Bristol.  In addition to the modern facility, programs offered by the high school were lauded.  A typical day included French, English, math, civics, manual arts, science, music, commercial courses, occupations courses, physical education, home economics, and drama.

Next door to the high school was their most popular achievement, the Bristol Municipal Stadium, known locally as the Stone Castle. (Van West, p. 125)

The stone was primarily local limestone from the Civil Works Administration flood control project in 1933-34.  The architectural details (“towers, battlements, arches, crenelated walls, and heavy wooden castle-like entrance doors” p. 125) contributed to the local name Stone Castle.  The stadium can seat upwards of 6,000 people.

Architect R. V. Arnold designed the stadium, which began in 1934 as a Tennessee Emergency Relief Association (TERA) project.  The stadium was about half completed when TERA ended.  Works Progress Administration (WPA) provided $60,000 of of the total $90,000 cost and the stadium was completed in 1936.  A circular tower anchors each of the four corners.

This entry was posted in New Deal Administration, Public Works Administration, school buildings, Works Progress Administration and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Bristol Tennessee High School and the Castle Stadium: PWA, TERA, and WPA on the job for the nation

  1. socialbridge says:

    Lovely to see such a fine building, Suz, and unlike what you come across here in Ireland.


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