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  • Marc Viquez

Columbus Memorial Gymnasium – Columbus North HS Bulldogs




Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.57

Columbus Memorial Gymnasium 1400 25th St Columbus, IN 47201


Columbus North Bulldogs website

Columbus Memorial Gymnasium website


Year Opened: 1954

Capacity: 6,547

 

A Nice Night in Columbus

When the city of Columbus, Indiana, wanted to construct a new physical education building for its high school in December of 1952 they did it the old-fashion way. This meant getting together without outside organizations, professional fundraisers, or government assistance. In two weeks, a total of nearly $1 million had been pledged and more than half of the amount as cash. A total of 6,952 individuals, firms, and civic organizations had responded to the challenge of funding the new Columbus Memorial Gymnasium.


When the gym was dedicated on November 23, 1954, there was a total of 7,046 (now 6,547) unobstructed seats for Columbus North High School Bulldogs basketball games. The building was one of the finest in the nation and contained 173,000 face bricks and 50,000 other interior masonry units, the roof was supported on steel trusses, and the concrete bleachers contained 116 tons of reinforcing steel. The stage located on the north end of the gym is operated by a folding door 72 feet long and 24 feet high.


The completion of the gym was nothing new for the citizens of basketball frenzied towns who also pledge donations to construct basketball gymnasiums in nearby New Castle, Muncie, and Kokomo. The 1950s saw a wave of Hoosier Hysteria where larger, modern facilities were constructed to meet the demands of ticket sales and provide the opportunity to house money-generating sectional and regional games that returned to the city for the first time since 1926. Columbus’s venue would be part of the same civic pride and it is interesting to note that the original playing court would not be replaced until 2014.


Food & Beverage 4

There is one main concession booth in the remodeled lobby outside the playing concourse that has quite an array of food options for hungry patrons.


There are the usual hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, and pretzels for $2.00; however, there are chicken sandwiches for $3.00, pizza for $4.00, and frozen yogurt for $4.00. If you have a sweet tooth you can grab candy, cookies, donuts, and Rice Krispie treats starting at $.75. Coca-Cola products are served and priced at $2.00. One could opt to eat at the game and the Bulldogs have a nice, neat, and professional-looking stand to serve these needs.


Atmosphere 3

Memorial Gymnasium is a massive size venue that was built during an era when Indiana schools tried to out-build each other in terms of girth. The crowds do not pack the house like they used to, but there still is an enjoyable atmosphere inside the facility. The first thing you will notice is the 24-foot high stage door that reads Bulldogs. The rest of the seating sections are separated by two levels and wrap around the court in a horseshoe design.


The seating area has a few nicks and crannies that provide interesting views of the game on the court. The lower levels feature modern, hard plastic seats, while the traditional hardwood seats populate the upper sections. Banners from the numerous championships won by the school’s sports programs are on display. The pep band charges up the crowd during the game and so does the student section making life a little uneasy for the opponent attempting a free throw at the line.


Neighborhood 4

Columbus is a pretty and interesting little town that has its little downtown with a few other options within driving distance. The Powerhouse Brewery offers delicious pub food and reasonable prices along with quality craft beer. 450 North Brewing Company serves great beers and brick oven pizza, even by the slice, and Zwanzigz Pizza also features hoagies, calzones, and salads. There are even more great restaurants to choose from that including The Garbage Pub and Grill, Skooter’s, and Amazing Joe’s Grill.


If interested in shopping the Edinburgh Outlet Mall is located off of I-65 with further restaurant chain restaurant options. In this area, a few nice choices to stay at overnight include Residence Inn, Comfort Inn and Suites, Courtyard, Holiday Inn, and the nearby Hotel Indigo at the Columbus Architectural Center.


Fans 3

The fans at a Columbus North Bulldogs game can be loud and raucous just like any other high school support group. They fill the stands in the giant facility and cheer on their home team throughout the game. There is a great mix of old and new fans at the games.


Access 4

It is not too difficult to move around between sections and seats. The outside entrances to the playing area also include staircases and ramps that provide a sort of labyrinth to certain parts of the building. You always have a great view from most of the seats in the house and locating the concession stand and washrooms is very simple.


Return on Investment 4

Memorial Gymnasium is a grand old facility and a wonderful place to showcase basketball talent. The price of admission is $5, much like many other gyms and field houses in the state. However, you get a little more bang for your buck with a great selection of food at the concession stand and a myriad of memorabilia that dons the hallways outside the main entrances to the gym.


Extras 3

There are a lot of great photographs and other memorabilia that line the hallways in trophy cases inside the facility. They are all located in an empty part of the gym just outside the main entrances to the seating area. Do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to scope out the history of basketball and other sports at Columbus North High School.


The concession stand is definitely worth grabbing a bite to eat and you may not want to get something to eat afterward, which is ironic since there are many wonderful places to eat in and around Columbus.

The outside lobby to the playing area is updated and looks rather modern in comparison to the gym itself. It has a professional feel with a hospitality room and even an entrance to the natatorium that houses the Columbus North Bullfrogs swimming team.


Final Thoughts

Memorial Gymnasium in Columbus, Indiana, was dedicated in 1954 and continues to provide basketball to legions of fans more than 60 years later. It is a colorful gym that offers a little bit of old and new to visitors every night. Well kept up, it has plenty of little nooks and crannies from which to enjoy the game. Columbus is not a bad place to spend an evening and why not add a Bulldogs basketball game to your itinerary?


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Follow all of Marc’s stadium journeys on Twitter @ballparkhunter and his YouTube channel. Email at marc@stadiumjourney.com







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