Rebirth of an Icon

Situated on a hilltop at the end of Jacksonville’s downtown Commerce Street, the Tomato Bowl football stadium has served as an elevated icon for eight decades.

Residents and visitors alike share a deeply-seated sentiment toward this renowned landmark. Indeed, the Tomato Bowl has been inducted into the Texas Football Stadium Hall of Fame, and is one of the few remaining downtown stadiums in the state.

Home of the local football team, the JHS Fightin’ Indians, this architectural artifact was built on the site of the original East Side School, using materials gleaned from that structure’s demolition and funded in part by the federal Works Progress Administration (WPA) program.

Native iron ore harvested from area farms dominates the design, providing the majestic mosaic patterns of the surrounding fence with its unique swag profile. The reddish hues of the stone also grace the facade of the building, arched entrance and columns. In September 27, 1940, the first athletic game was played in the new stadium – prior to its completion – when the Fightin’ Indians squared off against the Dallas Tech Wolves, before 1900 collective football fans.

At eighty years of age, this stately stadium began showing significant deterioration and the City stepped up to preserve its beloved structure. Through careful deconstruction (to preserve the original native rocks) and reconstruction, the revitalized Tomato Bowl will continue as a beacon of tradition – for hopefully another 80 years or more.