Supporters Of Historic Grandstand In Independence, Kansas Win Court Victory

Tuesday, July 21st 2015, 4:29 pm
By: Richard Clark

People trying to save a historic grandstand in Independence, Kansas won a court battle this week.

On Monday, July 20, 2015, a Montgomery County judge granted a temporary restraining order against Unified School District 446.

At issue is the old grandstand from what's left of Shulthis Stadium.

Built in 1918 in Independence's Riverside Park by A.W. Shulthis, the grandstand was part of the stadium that hosted the world's first night game of organized baseball, played on April 28, 1930.

Over the years some of the biggest names in baseball played there, both at night and during the day.

The lights and the rest of the stadium were dismantled over the years, but the concrete grandstand still stands on a corner of what is now the athletic field for the school district.

7/16/2015: Related Story: Time Runs Out For Historic Baseball Grandstand In Independence, Kansas

The district says the grandstand isn't usable and wants to replace it with a structure that looks the same from the outside. Its board voted on Monday, July 13, 2015 to move forward with those plans, which included demolishing the grandstand as soon as the contractor could get the proper permits.

Independence resident Mark Metcalf, 52, has been working to get the grandstand added to the National Register of Historic Places and that the next step is a review by the Kansas Historic Preservation Officer on August 8, 2015. 

He filed a petition for an injunction this week and Judge Gary House granted it. In his petition, Metcalf said the city deeded the structure to the school district in 1987 with a catch; that any changes to the structure be approved by the city. Metcalf said in his petition that the school district violated that requirement, and under the same agreement the rights to the grandstand revert to the city.

He alleges the school district is trying to tear down the grandstand before it can be added to the National Register of Historic Places

A judge is set to hear arguments on the injunction on Friday, July 24, 2015.