Guss Schmiedt literally helped create one of Manteca’s earliest football fields.
It was Schmiedt – who served for more than 40 years on the old Manteca Union High School District board – that used his tractor and organized others to improve the playing field for the Manteca High Buffaloes when it was located a bit to the west closer to Garfield Avenue.
It was only fitting that in 1959 when the present-day football field was developed it was named in Schmiedt’s honor.
The players that year listed family names familiar with Mantecans even today – John Holbrook, Joe Hulsey, James Cummingham, Walter McDonald, Gary Heaton, Don Tubbs, Mike Erdman, Joel Linker, Wayne Dias, Dennis and Larry Scharmann, and Larry Nascimento.
Manteca High is starting its 56th season of playing on Guss Schmiedt Field when the Buffaloes take on Buhach Colony of Atwater on Friday, Aug. 28, in the first home game of the 2015 season.
Schmiedt was among the early boosters of a high school. Up until 1920, anyone who wanted to attend high school from the South County had to travel to Stockton.
The creation of a high school district encompassed the communities of Manteca, Lathrop and French Camp had been discussed for 20 years but was abandoned repeatedly because critics contended the cost would be too high.
Even when the community finally was getting ready to pursue an election, an intense debate broke out whether the high school should be located in Lathrop – which was larger at the time – or in Manteca. Efforts to agree on a more central location failed.
Finally on May 19, 1920 an election took place to create the district. Nineteen men of the community borrowed enough money on their own to construct temporary wooden buildings on the site that now houses Manteca High.
The first board election was conducted in 1920. Among those securing seats was Schmiedt, Eva Patterson, Ed Powers, L.L. Miller, and P.L. Wisdom.
The new school – designed in classic California mission style — was dedicated on Dec. 23, 1921. The first graduating class of 1923 consisted of 10 students.
The original dedication program for Guss Schmeidt Field noted Schmeidt had served since 1937 as board president. In his first four decades of board service Schmeidt attended about 1,100 school board meetings and traveled “over 14,000 miles in attending these meetings — all at no expense to the district” according to the program.