This photo of the old Cranford Field or Cranford Fairgrounds dates back to the early 1900s. Also known affectionately as “Cranford’s Cow Pasture,” it was located near the old Murphy Manufacturing location off Tenth Avenue and served as the football field for the old Walker County High School. At the time, no field in Jasper had lights, so early games were played as day games. In 1923, Walker moved its games to the new Ki-Ro Field.
Cranford Field was also the site for a race track, fairgrounds, circus, carnivals, and anything else that required a large area. It was named after John Harvey Cranford, or “Captain Jack Cranford,” of Jasper. Cranford grew up on his father’s farm near Oakman. Despite his limited education, he began teaching school at the age of 20 and taught for five years. He became president of the Cranford Mercantile Company and the Cranford Coal Company, served two terms as mayor of Jasper (1892-1906) and during the interim was a member of the city council almost every year. From 1907 to 1909 he represented Walker County in the Legislature. The city had no water supply and electric lights until Cranford organized the Jasper Water, Light and Power Company, and served as its president for 17 years. In 1899 he organized the Bank of Jasper, which later became First National Bank, and served as the bank president for 25 years.