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  • Richard Smith

Penny J. Fall Gym – Washington College Shoremen

Photos by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.14

Penny J. Fall Gym Cain Athletic Center 300 Washington Ave. Bldg# CACATH2 Chestertown, MD 21620

Year Opened: n/a

Capacity: 500


To The Shore

Washington College is a college in Chestertown, Maryland which was granted its charter in 1782. It is the 10th oldest college in the United States and one of the few to have received support from George Washington to honor him. The original desire was to have this college as the Eastern Shore Campus of a public “University of Maryland” with Annapolis’ St. John’s College the Western Shore counterpart. That obviously did not happen.

Each year, Washington College awards the nation’s largest undergraduate literary prize. Since 1968, the Sophie Kerr Prize has been presented to one graduating senior who demonstrates the greatest literary promise.

Washington has had sports since the 1800s. Men’s teams are known as the Shoremen; women’s teams are known as the Shorewomen. Many of the men's games here at Penny J. Fall Gym are doubleheaders so if you get there early you may want to catch the women's team in action as well.

The Penny J. Fall Gym is the home playing venue for Washington College's volleyball and men's and women's basketball teams as well as the location of many athletic offices, the athletic training room, the equipment room, and several locker rooms. Penny J. Fall played an integral role in physical education instruction and the development of women’s athletics at Washington College. The gym was named in her honor in 2021. The gym is located within the larger Cain Athletic Center.

Washington College participates in Division III sports as part of the Centennial Conference.

Food & Beverage 1

There is no permanent food stand or any other options for sale at the gym. There does look like a former food stand is used just for storage now.

There may be small options for sale in the lobby as well as there being a vending machine location.

Atmosphere 4

This is a small typical gym for the schools of the Centennial Conference. Think of a high school type gym with two main bleachers and a smaller set along one of the baselines. There are some offices above the action with windows down to the floor. We did see some people watching the game from up there.

Because of the small size, the gym can fill quickly and get loud. It has a nice vibrant atmosphere for a small college program like this.

Neighborhood 4

Chestertown is a town and county seat of around 5,000 in Kent County, Maryland, and is located on what is known as Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It is 1.5 hours from Baltimore and Philadelphia.

The nearby downtown district of Chestertown is full of history and sites for visitors, along with some nice shopping and dining. BAD Alfred’s Distilling, the Evergrain Bread Company, and Play It Again Sam are good spots for dining.

Check out the High Street Town Dock and see if there are any charter boat trips through companies such as the Chester River Packet Company.

Wilmer Park and the nearby area around the Hodson Boathouse at Washington College make for some nice waterside walking on a nice day.

Fans 4

The fans fill the small gym well and create a good atmosphere for small college sports.

Access 3

The actual town of Chestertown is not an issue getting around and accessing, but the problem is how isolated from major urban areas the town and college are. You will have to go way out of your way to visit Washington College.

There may also not be much parking on campus as it is a historic campus and if there are many events going on, the available spots could be hard to find. Leave yourself plenty of time to find a good spot. The North Commons area may be a good place to start, but make sure to follow parking guidelines, especially for weekday events during regular school semesters.

Return on Investment 5

Games are free, so the value is very good. Most of the games, such as the one we attended, are men's and women's doubleheaders so you get twice the action for that free admission.

Extras 1

Not many extras, but the athletic hall of fame in the lobby offers some interesting reading at halftime.

Final Thoughts

The Penny J. Fall Gym is a small place but offers a nice sporting atmosphere for fans who are in the area.

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