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Picturing the Past 140: Old Central High gym

Posted Tuesday, January 3, 2012, at 12:27 PM

The old Central High gym, as it appeared in 1974. (T-G file photo)
Here's a decent view of the gym at the "old" Central High on Elm Street, used by SCHS from 1954-77 and Harris Middle School until 2006.

A lot of memories of everything from ball games to dances still live in that gym, or at least in the minds of those who spent time in it. This view's from 1974.

Today that gym sits empty, slowly rotting away from non-use after a deal to fix it up a while back didn't work out. Next to the gym is the old high school building, meeting the same fate. Maybe someday something can be worked out to preserve our heritage.

Picturing the Past is featured each Tuesday in this blog. Reader contributions are welcome.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

David, Thanks for the photo. I vividly remember when this gym was new and a "show place" of high schools in the area. I'd also like to see some photos of the "really old" gym, the one that served as the gym and cafeteria in the main building.

-- Posted by marnold1118 on Tue, Jan 3, 2012, at 1:09 PM

The gym was built during my second grade school year at Central Elementary. Many memories are associated with it, from participating in sports there, to having PE and other classes there, to watching many excellent basketball games there. I was in PE class there when word came that President Kennedy had been assassinated.

It's a shame that this old building was allowed to deteriorate and was not put to good use.

-- Posted by stldrvr on Tue, Jan 3, 2012, at 3:53 PM

During the week of March 31, 1958, the gym became the set for the filming of a movie which has been translated into fourteen foreign languages. "Basketball of Millions" was a film that protrayed the different situations which arose in a regulation game. It was produced uner the sanction of the National Federation of State High School Athletic Associations. The size and layout of the gym were the main reasons for the choice of the school. Coach Frank Wallheiser and the boys' basketball tem were featured throughout the film. The student body was in the stands for the filming. It was a very versatile gym. There was a track around the top floor, spacious dressing rooms and a band room. Really sad to hear that it sits idle and not being used.

-- Posted by caligal on Wed, Jan 4, 2012, at 2:42 AM

caligal I remember the filming of the movie very well. It was done during my Senior year of high school. One thing that I remember was that the school got to keep the uniforms (two sets) that were used during the filming. There was also a college player in the filming of the movie that later went on to play pro ball. He was from an Indiana school (possibly Indiana or Indiana State). I think his name was Hanson or Hansen or something like that.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Jan 4, 2012, at 8:08 AM

If anyone could find a copy of "Basketball for Millions" it would make a great YouTube post.

-- Posted by David Melson on Wed, Jan 4, 2012, at 1:26 PM

leeiii,the player you referred to was from the University of Tennessee and I believe an All-American in 1958-59. His name was Gene Tormohlen and was a native of Holland,Indiana.He was drafted in the second round of the 1959 NBA draft by the Syracuse Nationals. I was a junior on the 1958 team and recall a week of missed classes to participate in the filming. AS Caligal wrote,I think the film was intended for training officials and as a tool for enjoying the game for millions of fans.

-- Posted by LarLMoore on Thu, Jan 5, 2012, at 4:46 PM

Mike Bone has Basketball for millions

-- Posted by Black Swan on Tue, Jan 10, 2012, at 1:17 PM

As best as my memory can serve me Mike would have been in the movie.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Jan 10, 2012, at 8:54 PM

Yeah for Mike Bone. I am sure he was in the movie.

-- Posted by caligal on Tue, Jan 10, 2012, at 10:32 PM

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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.