Berry Bowl – Logansport High School Berries
Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00
Berry Bowl 1 Berry Ln Logansport, IN 46947
The Home of Felix the Cat
The Logansport High School Berries might just have one of the most interesting nicknames in the state of Indiana. However, do not expect to see a bushel of berries as the school’s mascot running around the gym, but rather a feline character named Felix the Cat. He is recognized as the state’s oldest mascot having been adopted in 1926. There are variations of the story, but they all seem centered around a stuffed black and white cat doll named “Felix” by the players.
The most reliable theory states that during the 1926-27 season a stuffed animal was presented to star player Raymond “Curly” Hupp by coach Cliff Wells. During an important game that saw the Berries down by 20 points, Felix was taken from the locker and placed in the center of the floor. The Berries were victorious, and Felix became a good luck charm and the official mascot of the team. This wasn’t the first time Felix was used for good luck, the New York Yankees used him as a symbol during its pennant-winning season in 1922.
As for why the school is known as the Berries, there is no definite answer to that question. The first mention was “Loganberries” which can be found in the local newspaper in 1922 and was mentioned periodically. At the time school was known as the Red Devils, but in December of 1925, the local paper began using Berries to describe the basketball team. Perhaps the name Berries was better suited for print or maybe it rolled off the tongue better than Red Devils or Red & Black, another name that was used at the time.
One theory states the name came from a popular saying during the 1920s, “That’s berries,” a popular term Flapper Decade that was used to describe something that was the “best”. Another theory is that it comes from the loganberry, a hybrid of wild blackberry and raspberry first cultivated in 1881 by horticulturist James Harvey Logan. The name was officially adopted by the school in 1955 (when both the football team adopted the name after being known as the Red Devils)
When the school dedicated its new gym in 1927, it was suggested by the press to name it the Berry Bowl. The old venue sat 5,000 with standing room only and was truly shaped like a bowl with 17 rows of wooden seats on concrete bleachers surrounding the playing court. In 1973 the name would carry over to its current modern basketball gymnasium that has more of a box shape, but the Berry Box just wouldn’t sound right.
The current Berry Bowl features a floor that is believed to be the first of its kind in a high school gym in Indiana to feature a stain whitewash technique that is more common on professional courts. The new court was installed during the summer of 2017.
Food & Beverage 4
The Berry Bowl has a large concession stand near the entrance of the gymnasium offering the usual goodies found at most Indiana high schools, but with a twist. Two small flat TV screens offer combo meals that save customers a few dollars and credit cards are accepted, a huge benefit to anyone who doesn’t carry cash in their purse or wallet. The idea was that of Brian Strong, an Athletic Director who wanted to mirror what customers would see at a movie theater.
Hot dogs and nachos are available with Spanish sauce. A common topping for hot dogs in town is a spicy, tangy version of a chili or coney sauce. The sauce is homemade for all games and compliments the pork hot dog that is served on a steam bun; they sell for $2.50 apiece. A Spanish dog can be found at Haps and B&K locations in town, but why bother, when you can enjoy one while watching the game from the stands?
A regular hot dog costs $2, a slice of pizza $2.50, and a small bucket of popcorn is $1.50. Combo meals are available with a Pepsi product for a small discount. Other concessions stand items include donuts, cotton candy, bananas, and caramel corn. A smaller concession booth is located underneath the lower seating level.
The Berry Bowl is compacted into a design that mirrors a box of chocolates, or perhaps chocolate-coated berries, and offers a similar design to the gyms built in its era of the 1970s. However, it is the decorations of its famous mascot Felix that adds a lot of character to the facility and furthers it from other venues in the state.
Felix is everywhere from a welcome sign at the entrance that proclaims him as the first mascot in the state, to padded wall coverings behind one end of the court, menu boards, and signage above lower court seating. However, the largest display is the 22-foot Felix center court logo. It is not common to hear visitors ask what the connection between the school name and Berries is, but feel free to turn around to tell them if you happen to know the history of the name.
The main entrance offers enough room to move around and get a good look at the court down below. This area features the main concession stand, a few tables, and booths selling merchandise or raffle prizes, and a trophy case that honors the 1925 state basketball champions, the Berries lone state title.
Bleacher-style seating is featured on both levels and includes an area for fans who need assistance with walking at the top level against the railing, along with a small bleacher section directly behind one end of the court–this area is usually filled for all games and puts the fan the closest to the action underneath the rim. There is not too much room for players underneath each basket, a few inches separate the student-athlete from either a set of padded walls or bleacher seating.
The game begins with the Berries marching onto the court as the crowd stands and applauds. Cheerleaders circle the middle of the court and a mascot Felix dances and cheers along with them in unison. Felix also greets fans young and old before tip-off at the entrance of the game before joining in with the student section and band during the game.
Logansport is a small town of 18,396 located in Cass County-70 miles northwest of Indianapolis. The town features the main drag offering chain restaurants and plenty of hotel options. However, there are a couple of local establishments that should be a stop before or after the game.
Mr. Happy Burger, AKA Hap’s East, is a staple among the residents in the area. There is a lot to choose from and that may be the hardest decision. They are known for their pork tenderloin sandwiches, Hap’s Delight which is smothered in tartar sauce, and Spanish dogs which are topped with spicy homemade chili and also poured over nachos.
There is also an ice cream shop that offers cones, sundaes, and milkshakes for dessert. Old Style Inn is another highly recommended restaurant that serves brisket and a blue cheese steak salad. The ambiance of the establishment features a retro corner pub; wood paneling, and a tin ceiling.
The Logansport faithful enjoys watching the Berries and proudly represent the team colors of red and black at home games. Older fans line up along the railing on the upper concourse porch for a birds-eye view of the court. Many have been coming to games even before the gym was constructed, and a new generation of fans can be spotted, perhaps a few years from becoming fully ingrained in the Berry culture.
There are no interstates to take you into Logansport and GPS can be spotty at times in the area. The best access from Indianapolis is to travel north on State Road 31 pass Kokomo and take State Road 35 into town. There are no signs leading to the high school or the Berry Bowl.
Once inside the gymnasium, it is easy to get around the spacious venue. Bathrooms are located on the lower floor and outside the corner of the upper concourse. There is also ample parking in front of the gymnasium with staff helping direct cars before and after each game.
Return on Investment 4
A visit to Logansport can make for a nice relaxing day trip off the beaten path of the city, sprawling suburbs, and congested interstate. There is quite a bit to enjoy inside the Berry Bowl and when tickets are $5 and concession prices even cheaper, it is a fitting way to stretch your sports entertainment wallet. Kids will enjoy the free Felix the Cat decals and parents can take the whole family out to eat at Mr. Happy Burger after the game.
Felix the Cat is everywhere inside the building; a character that is older than Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck has found a home here in Logansport. His image is a welcome addition to the traditional, and sometimes all-too-common, school nicknames and logos throughout Indiana.
The menu boards are pretty impressive on bright color flat-screen TV at the concession stands. The concession stand also accepts credit cards, a rarity in Indiana at high school gyms.
The school nickname Berries may sound like an odd name, but there is the lore behind its genesis, and both students and alumni have embraced the name. It is considered by many fans and high school hoop enthusiasts as one of the best names in the state.
There are mascots in other gymnasiums, but Felix seems to outdistance them in energy and zeal. He greets fans of all ages at the entrance to the facility, dances with the cheerleaders, and energizes the crowd during the game.
The art deco lettering for the school’s hall of the legion is an ingenious touch harking back to the school’s only state championship. Lettering you would expect to find from a building constructed in the 1920s or 1930s adds a little shimmer inside the building.
When you think of Logansport High School you think of Felix the Cat and its unique nickname Berries. The Berry Bowl provides a wealth of information about its unusual nickname and its legendary school mascot. Fans are also treated to homemade Spanish dogs, easy access around the gym, and don’t need to carry cash to purchase concession items. There is a college-like feel at the game in a few areas that go a long way for the casual fan. The Berry Bowl is the “berries.”