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Back to the Future: Home Field and Richard Fulton

The honorable Richard Harmon Fulton has been named Honorary Chairman of the fund-raising drive to construct the new stadium at East Nashville Magnet High School. A 1945 graduate of East, Mr. Fulton was an All-City, All-State, All-South football player for the Eagles. Read more about his appointment and see his video here: FULTON.

The East Nashville Magnet High School Eagles need a home field stadium. Traveling across town to play "home" games on a field with no locker rooms and no scoreboard is hard on Eagle coaches and players, and denies the pleasures of "Friday Night Lights" enjoyed by parents, students and community supporters.

When East Nashville High School was opened in 1932, it was a show place with its classical architecture, featuring an impressive stone entrance with massive eagle sculptures atop. Down the hill behind the building was yet another impressive feature: a football stadium that could seat more than 6,000 people -- larger than any other in local high schools at the time.

The football games at East High in those earlier days filled the stadium and overflowed onto the hillsides, as parents and students alike celebrated at a school known for its good, tough teams that always seemed to vie for championships.  Many of Nashville's future leading citizens played on that field or in its renown marching bands and spirits were always high.

Now, the school buildings have been renovated and expanded, but J.J. Keyes Stadium, named for the first East High principal, is gone -- sending East High football home games across town to the old Tennessee Preparatory School site that doesn't even have a scoreboard and comparatively little seating. In other words, "home" games are no longer at home because there is no stadium, no locker rooms, no scoreboards, no public address system, no community atmosphere.

The school had been in planning and construction for almost a decade before its opening, and despite the Great Depression, it was what it was intended to be: a solid announcement of the birth of a new tradition of pride, educational progress and excellent athletics.  It would embrace the students of that vibrant part of the city and send them on a path toward success.

It would present the city with solid citizens who would become State Representatives and Senators, Congressmen, Mayors, Vice Mayor, Councilmembers, successful land developers and builders, attorneys and judges, doctors and nurses, teachers and professors, police officers, firefighters, musicians and songwriters, restaurateurs, union leaders and every imaginable occupation and profession. 

It also would send an estimated 1,800 students and alumni to fight World War II, but one teacher and 59 of its students would never return from the war.  A massive clock was added to the top center of the entrance in 1947as a memorial to the East heroes who died defending their country.

It achieved excellence in athletics, also, winning championships under the red and gray Eagles banner. But in the fall of 1986, it became a "middle school" as new "comprehensive" high schools siphoned off the 10th-12th grade classes.

Soon afterwards, the football field no longer needed the huge stadium.  Unused, age had taken its toll, and it was razed. The field remained and an elementary school was built nearby, but Friday nights with huge cheering crowds were a thing of the past. 

Six years ago, it became a Magnet School with more than 1,200 students in the unusual configuration of grades 5 through 12.  Athletic teams, including football, and a marching band slowly returned.  Eagle Pride was destined to be restored. But there was one major problem:  the field no longer had its magnificent stadium and its "home" games had to be played across town at the old TPS field with no scoreboard and light attendance.

You can help solve that problem by supporting the effort to fund construction of a new stadium for the East Eagles. Any contribution will help make it possible and return Eagle pride to one of Nashville great crown jewels. A secure donation form is available under the DONATE tab above and below. Please help the school and the vibrant community which surrounds it.

More history of East Nashville High School through the years can be found at the East Alums website.

East Nashville Football Stadium Foundation, Inc. is an IRS-certified tax exempt Section 501-(c)-(3) non-profit organization dedicated to building a stadium facility for the East Nashville Magnet High School to host "home games," community events on campus.  Donations are tax-deductible. Members of the board of directors and officers are non-compensated and identified here:   BOARD; the IRS filing and approval is available here: 501-C.

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