Skip navigation

Tambling Field


0034-8-2009.jpg

Opened: 1921
Closed: circa 1940's
Cost: $1,800

Tambling Field was an athletic facility located on the west side of campus, on the site of what is now Wightman Hall. Prior to the acquisition of this area, the school's first athletic field was on a large piece of flat land belonging to Isaac A. Fancher. Although the space was a popular spot for city residents, by 1903 the area (by then known as Fancher's Athletic Field) was improved and became the regular home of the school's athletics. The area would eventually become known as Island Park, a name which remains to this day. Additionally, a 1901 appropriation from the state allowed the school to build tennis courts, an athletic field, and a running track just west of the main building on the campus

By 1906, however, it was clear that Fancher's Athletic Field and the limited facilities adjacent to the main building were neither ideally located nor of sufficient size to accommodate all of the college's needs, and the Physical Education Department in that year recommended the purchase of an additional athletic field. After nearly a decade of saving, in 1915, the Athletic Committee bought seven acres of land west of and across the road from the existing field on the main campus for $1,800.00. The Normal School also received funding from the state legislature for leveling and seeding the field, as well as for building a fence.

By 1921, with the addition of this seven acre plot, the college was able to boast two baseball diamonds, two gridirons, eleven tennis courts, a gymnasium with a swimming pool, two basketball courts, an indoor running track, and shower and locker facilities. This athletic complex on the west side of campus remained the primary location for both men's and women's sports until the development of Alumni Field to the east of main campus a decade later. Even after the construction of Keeler Union to the west of main campus, Tambling Field (or simply "the athletic field") remained the home of girls' field hockey and other sports through the early 1940s. The tennis courts were also flooded in the winter to create an ice rink that remained lit on winter nights until 10 pm. It remained a popular spot for local recreation until the area was further developed in the late 1940s.

Tambling1910.jpgTambling Field, as the area was occasionally known, got its name from Charles F. Tambling, a local high school math teach who volunteered to coach football at the Normal school and eventually became the head of physical education for men at Central. Tambling worked tirelessly to help the school's athletic department grow in both size and diversity. It was Tambling that helped establish athletic facilities in present-day Island Park, and he was even able to convince Principal Grawn to remove the wall separating the boy's gymnasium from the girl's gymnasium. Tambling demolished the wall himself, creating the first full-size, indoor basketball court on campus. Tambling eventually became a popular professor on campus. He died in California in 1958 at the age of 86.