Along with sharing stories through his Backroads Indiana columns, Mike Barrett likes visiting old basketball gymnasiums and finding out a little bit about their history.
Here are a few he found around the state.
I played in this gym as an Austin Eagle against the Corydon Panthers in 1977. It was last used as a high school gym in 1986.Former Scottsburg coach Jim Barley referred to this place as a Quonset Hut, a structure used by the U.S. military in World War II to house troops.
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I’m guessing it was built in the early 1950s, but that’s just a guess. It’s a neat building and now is used for elementary games.
Used as the home gym for the Hickory Huskers in the movie “Hoosiers,” the Hoosier Gym in Knightstown was built in 1921.The first game ever played there was Dec. 2, 1921, when the Knightstown Falcons beat Indiana School for the Deaf 20-18 in overtime.
It was used as a high school gym until 1966. Over the next 20 years, the gym sat idle, and some thought it should be torn down. But that was before the producers of “Hoosiers” found it and made it famous.
You can visit the gym and take a tour of it. You can even shoot baskets on the same floor used in the movie.
I have been here a lot of times, and I enjoy it more every time I go.
This beautiful gym was built in 1931 and was last used as a high school gym in 1968. It seated 2,200 fans and is famous for two things … and here’s the story.Indiana basketball legend Rick Mount played high school basketball here for Lebanon High School from 1963 to 1966, where he scored 2,595 career points.
This is an amazing place, and I have no idea why Lebanon built another gym in 1968, but I’m sure they had a good reason. I hope so.
The other claim to fame here is it was used as a gym in the movie “Hoosiers.” It was the site of the regional championship.
In October 2015, I shot several baskets on the goals that Rick Mount played on. And as our host, Alexis Alfonsi, will attest, I was just as hot as Mount, going 5 for 5. Well, I might have missed just one.
Backroading for old gyms with Sandy, our first stop was at Newby Gym in Mooresville … and here’s the story.This cozy little place is just perfect — a balcony on one end and a stage on the other. I took the time to shoot on the goals (I was 4 for 4) and then just to listen to the voices of the empty bleachers, to the voices of old coaches echoing up the halls from the locker room.
This gym is one of the oldest in Indiana, as it was built in 1920 and used as a high school gym until 1959. This old gym is absolutely beautiful.
Former Indiana University player Bill Altman played here, scoring 54 points in a game for Mooresville in 1958. The gym seated about 500 people.
Thank you, Alicia Mong, the Newby school secretary/treasurer, for taking the time to give us a tour of the gym.
skyYou’ll find this old gym along State Road 3, just a few miles from Greensburg.
The gym is attached to an old school of several classrooms and was built in 1936.
A family from Chicago bought the building and is living there now. I can’t think of a better place to call home.
This gym was built in 1954 and used as a high school gym until 1974, when it consolidated with other small county schools to form Western Boone. It’s now used as an elementary gym.The population of Thorntown is around 1,500. In 1915, Thorntown won the state title.
In the 1920s, the official Thorntown school nickname was the Keewasakees. I believe that is Native American linked to the Miami tribe.
The barn behind me in the photo is for sale for $75,000, but I can tell you there is no price tag on the memories there … and here’s the story.The population of Wingate is around 246 people. There’s not much to do there, that’s for sure.
Wingate is a pleasant, clean-looking little community, and if you ever end up in Wingate, there’s a small café in the middle of the town where the food is really good and where folks like to talk about two things.
One of those things is how tiny Wingate won back-to-back Indiana state basketball championships in 1913 and 1914 and another title in 1920. The other thing Wingate people like to talk about is the old barn I’m standing in front of in the photo.
The barn was built in 1917 as a livery stable. In 1925, the community of Wingate purchased the building and converted it to a gymnasium, making it the first gym ever for Wingate. That’s right, during Wingate’s state championship years, it played all of its games on the road.
This old barn was the home gym for Wingate High School for the next 29 years until it closed its doors in 1954 to consolidate with New Richmond and form Coal Creek Central High School.
The barn was the only home gym Wingate High ever had. The barn also is recognized as the oldest building still standing that was used as a high school gym. Now, some of the gyms still standing in Indiana were built around 1920 and were built specifically as a gym, but this one started as a livery stable in 1917.
Mike Barrett is a local resident with an interest in history. His Backroads Indiana columns appear regularly in The Tribune. Send comments to [email protected].