Huntingburg Memorial Gym - Southridge Raiders
Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.00
Huntingburg Memorial Fieldhouse 412 E. 5th Street Huntingburg, IN 47452
Year Opened: 1951
Where the Fieldhouse is Bigger than the Town
When the Huntingburg Memorial Gym was dedicated on November 13, 1951, the local newspaper had an 8-page feature in its newspaper filled with articles about the gym and the school’s history along with a bevy of local sponsors congratulating the opening of the new basketball venue that would have a capacity of 6,092–larger than the town itself.
The objective was evident, this new beauty of a basketball cathedral would be the pride of Huntingburg and DuBois County. It was also built to steal away sectional play from nearby Jasper High School’s gymnasium less than 10 miles north of town. The first sectional tournament at the new gym grossed close to $15,000 while the year before the tournament at Jasper grossed close to $6,300.
It was hard for the community not to be impressed with the innovative design that was created by architect Ralph Legeman who only 2 years prior built the first of these structures in Herrin, Illinois. However, HMG features were much larger than the four other gyms he designed with 16 rows of seating.
The “super gymnasium and sports arena” was the largest of its kind in Southern Indiana featuring the distinctive pin-hinged arch with an outward thrust to provide unobstructed views for fans entering the gym at street level and with a court located below street level. It was an investment of $25,000 and a perfect spot for sectional and regional tournaments for the town of Huntingburg.
When it opened the gym was home to the Huntingburg Happy Hunters who had been playing basketball since 1919 but by the start of the 1972-1973 academic school year, the gym became home to the Southridge High School Raiders after consolidating with Holland High School. Huntingburg and Southridge High Schools have captured 3 regional and 23 sectional championships.
Food & Beverage 4
The concession stand layout is quite different in comparison to other gyms that were constructed with the Legeman blueprint. There are two large table areas on opposite sides of the concourse offering the usual food items of nachos, hot dogs, popcorn, pop, and candy. The prices range from $1 for popcorn and candy to $2 for nachos and a Raiderdog. No item will cost you more than $3.
The gym offers a little extra in terms of dessert items. Fans can enjoy ice cream: chocolate, vanilla, and twist for $2 or $3. There is also the option of enjoying a Dole Whip, made locally, and available in five different flavors including mango, peach, and strawberry. The dairy-free treat makes for a nice light treat during the game, but let it melt slightly before digging in with your plastic spoon.
Unfortunately, during our visit to the fieldhouse, the crowd was somewhat tepid and the gigantic venue, along with the dominant victory by the visitors, drowned out any atmosphere that would follow one of the most prestigious buildings for high school hoops in the state of Indiana. We know we arrived at a late Saturday afternoon game and that other nights would produce a more raucous crowd.
Still, there is a lot to like about this place. It is kept immensely clean and looks renovations from 2006 gave the place a nice new look from its flooring, lighting, concourse, and seating area. The colors of black and red are proudly displayed and the rather dark and moody lighting blankets outs of those empty seats. For a first-time visitor one either is amazed at the building’s girth or imagines what it must be like with a full tilt on hand for a game.
There is a lot of history on display from a corner of the gym honoring its Indiana Hall of Fame members from the Happy Hunter days to the sectional championship winners from 1985 and 1986 proudly on display in both photos and paragraphs. A trophy case near one of the entrances displays more memorabilia. All pieces of history are neatly displayed and do not feel crammed into one another or displayed like a dorm room wall at a university.
Downtown Huntingburg is located a few blocks from the ballpark offering various storefronts and places to eat before or after the game. The Gaslight Restaurant offers sandwiches and pizza, Mama T’s Italian Steakhouse is a fine choice for dining, and Market Street Soup & Salad is another fine choice.
There are also a few regional chain restaurants along the main street heading north towards Jasper where a few more breweries such as Basket Case Brewing Company and Pub are located. The Schnitzelbank Restaurant attracts customers from all over the region and offers German cuisine and liter beer in an equally impressive atmosphere of the Old World.
The Southridge Raiders play at an equally impressive ballpark that was part of the filming location for the movie A League of Their Own. League Stadium is also the home of the Dubois County Bombers of the Ohio Valley League during the summer but if you happen to be in a town where you can take in a baseball or basketball game make sure you visit this gem of a ballpark.
A few attractions in Dubois County include the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame in Jasper, Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari in nearby Santa Claus, Patoka Lake, Ferdinand National Forest, and the Hoosier National Forest. The majority of lodging options are a few miles north in Jasper
A small crowd was at hand and there was not much to root for as the Raiders were besieged by the hands of Jeffersonville. Many wished to jeer when something went astray on the court and many were just there enjoying themselves with friends and family. As stated earlier, perhaps another night would have seen a better fan turnout.
Huntingburg is located in Dubois County along SR-231. Depending on where you live, it could be a day trip to get here. It is a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Indianapolis, an hour and a half from Louisville, and forty-five minutes from Evansville. The closest interstate access is 8 miles south on I-64. However, in Southern Indiana, where many say basketball is at its best, the long drives are sometimes worth the time.
Return on Investment 3
Huntington Memorial Gymnasium is one of the state’s iconic venues and as it nears 70 years of service in little under 2 years, it is recommended to visit to see a game. Perhaps a sectional or regional tournament game would draw better crowds or maybe a game against the rival Jasper Wild would also bring out the community to the game. Tickets are $5 and a food item is no more than $3—probably some of the best deals for concession items in the state.
The Huntington Memorial Gymnasium earns a point for its presentation. The old gym looks sharp and modern, stroked in the school colors of black and red. The gym earns a second point for offering the different options of Dole Whip, a dessert made from tropical fruit flavor and not all that junk you might find in ice cream. The final point is for the tall wooden table and chairs at the corners of the concourse that provide fans a place to put their food items down and enjoy the game.
The Huntington Memorial Gymnasium is one of the must-see basketball gymnasiums in Indiana. When the place is packed the energy is outstanding but due to its size, even a few thousand fans can make the place somewhat less enthralling. However, this is one of the many massive and impressive facilities built during the 1950s and one should enter its doorways with the respect it richly deserves.