History of the Brickyard
The McDuffie Progress
The creation of one of this states greatest football
landmarks as a result of Mother Nature and a fiery tragedy
that occured in the late 1930’s.
The home stadium of the Thomson Bulldogs, known as the
legendary “Brickyard,” is
the finished product of hard work and dedication from longtime supporters
of the early Bulldog teams.
In the summer of 1937, lightning struck the dome of the old Thomson High School,
which was located on the grounds where todays Thomson Middle School stands.
The entire school burned to the ground, and the residents of the City of Thomson
and McDuffie County were devastated.
Clean-up duties quickly began, and all the bricks from the old, burned school
were piled up on school property. Construction of the existing building
that now houses TMS soon began.
During this time, football games for the Bulldogs were played on a field
where the Bridkyard now stands, excluding the brick wall. A few years after
the fiery mishap that destroyed Thomson High, residents of the city and school
officials decided to use the old bricks to construct a wall around the football
field to create a closed-in stadium.
Funds for the big construction project were obtained through President Franklin
Roosevelt's Civilian Conservation Corps Program. When these funds were made
available, work on the Bulldog’s new home began.
“The CCC Program under President Roosevelt was one of two special areas
that the federal government had available to help communities,” said Dewayne
Patrick, a member of four Thomson Bulldog teams from 1949-1952 and a retired
military general. “The other program of President Roosevelt’s was
the Works Projects Administration (WPA) that helped build bridges and brick
homes on Army bases.”
The first game in the new “Brickyard” was played on September 26,
1941, in which Thomson played Sylvania for a 6-6 tie. L.C. “Flash” Gordon
was the first head coach of a Bulldog team that played in the Bridkyard.
The first win for Gordon’s Bulldogs in the Brickyard occured on October
10, 1941 against Greensboro High School by a 12-7 score.
In the following few weeks, the Bulldogs remained undefeated at their new stadium
by defeating Lincointon 12-2 on Oct. 24 and by beating Gray 9- 7on Nov. 14.
The first loss for the Bulldogs at the Brickyard came against
neighboring Warrenton on Thanksgiving Day of 1941. No score could be found
in the records for this game. The Bulldogs finished the 1941 sea
son with a 5-4-1 record.
Thomson was a baseball town until the 1940s,” said Bill Beckum, local
historian and statistician of the Thomson Bulldogs. “For many decades,
both baseball and football games of Thomson High were played in the Brickyard”
Beckum added, “Before football games were played in the Brickyard and
the original field before the bricks were layed, the Bulldogs played their
home games in the mid- l930s on the old fairgrounds in Thomson, where The
McDuffie Progress is now located.
Today, the Brickyard is known statewide as one of the toughest stadiums for
visiting teams to attempt wins. It has been ranked the past few years in the
Top 10 as one of the most attractive high school stadiums in Georgia.