Waterman Gymnasium

Posted on Thursday, April 17th, 2014 by John Wood

In keeping with the saying Mens sana in corpore sano (A healthy mind in a healthy body) the University of Michigan built some of the finest gymnasia the world had ever seen in the late nineteenth century. The Waterman Gymnasium (pictured right and named for Joshua W. Waterman, a notable Detroit attorney who donated most of the funds) was completed in 1894. The Barbour Gymnasium for women (on left, named for Regent Levi L. Barbour), followed in 1896. The physical director of these facilities was George A. May and the above picture was how both grand buildings looked from the diag, circa 1927. The chem building now sits on the site where these gyms were once located.

The Columbia Gymnasium

Posted on Monday, January 20th, 2014 by John Wood

Columbia Gymnasium

A look at the Columbia University (then college) gymnasium circa 1905. The wall pulleys were made by The Narragansett Machine Company and were state of the art back then. The intended training was gymnastic oriented as was common during this time frame, but one could certainly still achieve very good results with this equipment selection. With so much open space and natural light, this would have been a fun place to train.

The Ohio State Armory

Posted on Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012 by John Wood

Ohio State Armory - 1898

I’ve had this picture of this fantastic old gym in my collection for years and it has always been a mystery as to exactly where it was. Recently, thanks to the wonder of the internet, we have found out that this is the interior view of the gymnasium of the Ohio State Armory, in Columbus, Ohio.

This was a pretty typical gym at the time: plenty of wide open space and a variety of available gymnastic training equipment such as traveling rings, medicine balls, tumbling mats, pommel horses and climbing ropes etc. Like most gyms of the period, the training options were basic, but more than enough to obtain good results. The large and very impressive semi-circular beamed roof was specifically designed to allow in plenty of natural light.

The armory was quite a facility, It was built in 1897 and resembled a Medieval castle, turrets and all, as you can see in the exterior shot below.

Archbold Gymnasium, Syracuse University

Posted on Thursday, April 26th, 2012 by John Wood

Archbold Gymnasium, Syracuse University

Keeping very much in line with the motto “A strong mind in a sound body”, in 1908, Archbold Gymnasium on the campus of Syracuse University opened its doors… It was the finest physical training facility in the world at the time, and featured an elevated track, climbing ropes, gymnastic equipment as far as the eye could see, a swimming pool and even several bowling alleys. They actually used to hold entire indoor track meets there. Also of note is the large glass-domed roof which let in plenty of natural light.

An unusual feature that could be found in the basement was an indoor rowing tank, installed so that the crew team could get in some much needed practice in the early spring before the ice melted.

This fabulous gymnasium was named for the oil magnate John D. Archbold, who gave the university the funds to complete the building. Look closely at the top image and you’ll also see the top few rows of Archbold Stadium, once one of the largest open air football stadiums in the country and the current site of the Carrier dome.