From Ohio History Central
The interior field of Tanks Memorial Stadium.
The Ironton Tanks was a semi-professional football team from Ironton, Ohio. Former football players from Ironton High School organized the team in 1919. The Ironton Tanks played its home games in Beechwood Park. The team’s games sometimes attracted crowds as large as 1,500 people, and eventually, grandstands were built to accommodate the spectators. The Tanks’ uniforms, consisting of red jerseys and khaki pants, earned the team the nickname the “Big Red Machine.”
During the early 1920s, the Ironton Tanks emerged as a football powerhouse. Between 1920 and 1926, the team won sixty-one, lost four, and tied eight games. By the late 1920s, the Tanks routinely played exhibition games against National Football League teams, including the Portsmouth Spartans, the New York Giants, and the Chicago Bears. Although not always victorious, the Tanks defeated each of these teams during this period. The 1930 season saw the end of the Ironton Tanks. The Great Depression caused the team to collapse due to a lack of funds.