A look at the Wellesley College Gymnasium, circa 1905. This awesome facility was outfitted by A.G. Spalding & Bros. and consisted of 6 Counterbalanced Booms, 42 Stall Bars and Benches, 35 Italian Hemp Climbing Ropes, 12 Rope Ladders, 3 Vaulting Boxes, 3 Vertical Window Ladders, and 12 Balance Beams.
A look at The Michigan State Normal School Gymnasium in Ypsilanti, Michigan, circa 1894, the year it was built. This impressive red brick building was located across the street from the Water Tower in Ypsilanti (and if you have been to Ypsi, you know exactly where this is). This gymnasium was divided completely in half, the North half reserved for women and the South half for men. The Michigan State Normal School eventually became Eastern Michigan University, and unfortunately, this particular building was demolished in the mid-1960’s.
A look at the interior of the Adrian, Michigan YMCA, circa 1905. The equipment selection was not numerous, but the results obtained from training with a running track, some flying rings, a climbing rope and a set of parallel bars will likely beat the pants off what can be done at most modern gyms with far more to choose from.
Here’s a rare look into The German Gymnasium, located at 26 St. Pancras Road, London, England, circa 1866. This facility was originally constructed by the German Gymnastic Society (hence the name) and used as the venue for some of the first organized athletic contests which later on led to the formation of the Olympic games. The German Gymnasium was designed by Edward A. Gruning and built by the firm of Piper and Wheeler. Even better: unlike most buildings of the era, this magnificent structure is still standing and in great shape (although not a gym).
Here’s a quick look at The Gymnasium of the College of Physical Education in Bucharest, Romania. Their most well-known graduate is the famed gymnastic coach Bela Karolyi.
The Man in The Gymnasium… unfortunately his name is lost to the sands of time. We do know two things though: he had excellent taste in equipment AND was a snappy dresser. This picture was taken around 1900.