A History of Clayes Stadium – 1927-2017

Anaheim High’s Clayes Stadium served as more than just a place to sit and watch Colonist football, soccer games, track meets, graduations, band performances and other events.

Under the steps of the 1000-seat concrete grandstand built in November 1927 for $13,000, were dressing and storage rooms, lockers, a heating plant for showers and offices for the coaches. More recent additions included a batting cage.

Named after Anaheim’s longest serving principal, Joseph A. Clayes, the stadium evolved into an iconic structure. Along with a training facility below and above (generations of Anaheim athletics ran the stadium steps) and a place from which Colonist fans cheered on their teams, the grandstand also served as a vehicle for expressing class pride.

At some point during the stadium’s 90-year history, the tradition of painting the stadium surfaced. An upper classman privilege, painting the stadium became so much a part of becoming a senior that it was looked upon as a small infraction (provided of course that it is done in good taste) to NOT paint your class numbers in blue and gold on the stadium steps. Being a part of the paint crew for these secret evening sessions is a favorite memory of many Anaheim grads.

Construction of the stadium in 1927 on the west side of school’s newly laid out athletic field rounded out what the local newspaper called “the most completely equipped athletic plant,” and the stadium “one of the few of its kind in use on a Southern California school campus.”

Principal Clayes began his tenure at Anaheim High as a teacher of art and commerce in 1914. He became Anaheim High’s principal in the fall of 1919 and remained in that position for 22 years until his death on July 1, 1941. He son and grandsons became some of Anaheim’s most accomplished leaders and athletes.

During his 22-year tenure, Principal Clayes oversaw the complete reconstruction of the school after being destroyed by the 1933 Long Beach earthquake. Along with the main building, auditorium, gymnasium, athletic fields and stadium, a new swimming pool was constructed in the 1920s and later replaced in the 1940s.

The stadium was condemned in recent years and the pool was emptied more than 10 years ago, both due to structural damage. With community support, including that of Anaheim alumni, the District is undertaking a major renovation of the school’s athletic facilities, including the construction of a new aquatics center and improvements to the gymnasium and fields.

Construction plans require the demolition of Clayes stadium, the oldest existing structure on the campus. Ground breaking for the new center will take place March 1, 2018, with construction expected to be complete by March 21, 2019.

If you would like to serve on a planning committee for the grand opening and an effort to raise funds for the athletic fields upgrade, or if you would like to make a tax-deductible donation toward the project, please contact the AHSAA at anaheimalumni@yahoo.com.

Click this link to view a gallery of photos and articles about historic Clayes Stadium.

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