Dio Lewis

Posted on Thursday, October 11th, 2018 by John Wood
Dio Lewis was an early physical culture pioneer who was outspoken on the role of temperance, clean living and physical training as a part of education. His system of gymnastics was eventually adopted by schools and laid the groundwork for modern physical education.

The Gymnasium of the Romania College of Physical Education

Posted on Sunday, January 20th, 2013 by John Wood
The Gymnasium of the Romania College of Physical Education
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.
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Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

The Springfield College Gymnasium

Posted on Wednesday, November 7th, 2012 by John Wood

What’s notable about this particular old gym?  Look close and you’ll see a rack of Indian clubs, some light barbells and some other vintage gymnastic equipment which makes it pretty nifty insofar as oldtime training gear goes but there is another reason that this gym stands out… It was at this gym, at the School for Christian Workers at Springfield College in December of 1891, where the first game of organized basketball took place. James Naismith, under orders from Springfield’s physical education director Dr. Luther Halsey Gulick, was to develop a vigorous indoor game which could keep the students in shape during the winter months. The baskets — actual peach baskets — were nailed to the lower rail of the balcony, which happened to be exactly 10 feet from the floor… and the rest is history.

This picture was taken around 1887, so a few years before all the hubbub started.

A Presidential Workout

Posted on Saturday, August 11th, 2012 by John Wood
Calvin Coolidge, Indian Club Workout
Running the country is hard work which is why a regular training schedule is a good idea. Here’s Calvin Coolidge getting in a quick Indian Clubs workout in the White House, circa 1923. House Speaker Frederick H. Gillett looks on while training with the wall pulley. It’s not hard to understand where Coolidge’s interest from physical training stemmed from, he attended Amherst College (class of 1895) which had an extensive school-wide physical education program led by the physical culture pioneer Edward “Old Doc” Hitchcock.

The Yale Gymnasium

Posted on Wednesday, November 16th, 2011 by John Wood

The Yale Gymnasium

In keeping with the concept of ‘Mens sana in corpore sano” (A sound mind in a healthy body), at the turn of the last century, the Ivy League schools were centers for physical education in addition to academic pursuits.  Here’s a rare look at the interior of the Yale University Gymnasium, circa 1901.

This grand facility was located at 55 Hillhouse Avenue in New Haven, Connecticut and was under the direction of Mr. William Gilbert Anderson, a famous physical education teacher and author.

Hemenway Gymnasium

Posted on Tuesday, August 16th, 2011 by John Wood
Hemenway Gymnasium
he original Hemenway Gymnasium was the finest physical education facility ever created. It contained every manner of physical training equipment: climbing ladders, tumbling mats, climbing ropes, flying rings, barbells, dumbbells, indian clubs, medicine balls… even early strength building “machines” (which you may be able to see on the left if you look closely.)

There was a running track, handball courts and rooms for fencing, wrestling, boxing and any other imaginable physical activity. At the head of this fantastic facility was Dudley Allen Sargent, who virtually founded the discipline of physical education.