Memorial Gymnasium (University of Idaho)

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Memorial Gymnasium
Gym tower's west face
Location 1001 University Ave.
University of Idaho
Moscow, Idaho, U.S.
Coordinates 46°43′35.4″N 117°0′50.3″W / 46.726500°N 117.013972°W / 46.726500; -117.013972Coordinates: 46°43′35.4″N 117°0′50.3″W / 46.726500°N 117.013972°W / 46.726500; -117.013972
Area 0.3 acres (0.12 ha)
Built 1927–28
Architect David C. Lange[2][3]
T. Pritchard - ass't
Architectural style Tudor-Gothic
heavily buttressed
NRHP Reference # 77000466[1]
Added to NRHP October 10, 1977
Memorial Gymnasium
"Mem Gym"
Full name War Memorial Gymnasium
Location 1001 University Ave.
University of Idaho
Moscow, Idaho, U.S.
Owner University of Idaho
Operator University of Idaho
Capacity 2,500
Surface hardwood
Broke ground 1927 (summer)[4]
Built 1927–28
Opened 1928 (November),[4]
88 years ago
Renovated 1954
Expanded 1951–52[5]
Construction cost $616,767 - (original)
Architect David C. Lange[2]
Theodore Pritchard - ass't
Structural engineer A.T. Schenck
General contractor Victor N. Jones & Assoc. - Boise
Idaho Vandals volleyball

War Memorial Gymnasium is a 2,500-seat multi-purpose indoor arena in the northwest United States, on the campus of the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho. Opened 89 years ago in November 1928,[6][7] the venue honors state residents who gave their lives in the service of their country in World War I.[4][8]

The architectural style is Tudor-Gothic and is heavily buttressed; the chief architect was David C. Lange,[2][3] the head of the university's architecture department. The west end addition was built from 1951–52,[5] and the building was renovated in 1954.[9] Ivy partially covers the brick and concrete exterior, which is decorated with crouching football player gargoyles and stained glass windows.[10]

Memorial Gymnasium was the primary home of Vandal basketball until January 1976,[11] replaced by the newly-enclosed Kibbie Dome;[12][13] the Dome's basketball configuration was renamed "Cowan Spectrum" in early 2001. Currently the "Mem Gym" is the home court of Vandal women's volleyball, and occasionally hosts early season basketball games, depending upon the late season football schedule. During the 1940s and early 1950s, Idaho had a nationally prominent boxing team; 5,200 attended a dual meet against neighbor Washington State in 1950.[14] It was dropped by the university as an intercollegiate sport in 1954,[15][16] and discontinued by the NCAA after 1960.

The facility is used extensively for physical education classes, intramurals, and open recreation. Commencement ceremonies for the university were traditionally held in the venue from 1929[17] through 1975. Since 1976, the Kibbie Dome has hosted the primary ceremony for all graduates, and the Mem Gym is one of several venues used for individual college ceremonies for the awarding of diplomas.

At just 49 years of age, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. The narrow swimming pool in the basement of the Mem Gym was retired in 1970, when the new swim center opened. For the first seven years of the Kibbie Dome, it lacked locker rooms and the Vandals and visiting teams dressed in the Memorial Gym. The completion of the East End Addition in the fall of 1982 ended the long trek, frequently in rain or snow during basketball season.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b c "University professors". Gem of the Mountains, University of Idaho yearbook. 1928. p. 39. 
  3. ^ a b "Idaho Memorial Gym plans ready". Spokane Daily Chronicle. June 9, 1926. p. 1. 
  4. ^ a b c "Memorial Gymnasium". Gem of the Mountains, University of Idaho yearbook. 1929. p. 9. 
  5. ^ a b "Memorial Gym addition gives Idaho expanded athletic plant". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). August 11, 1952. p. 9. 
  6. ^ "Memorial gym opening dated". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). June 2, 1928. p. 3. 
  7. ^ Russell, Eugene H. (November 4, 1928). "Washington State College overwhelms Idaho, 26 to 0, before homecoming crowd of 10,000". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 1, sports. 
  8. ^ "Idaho U plans memorial gym". Spokane Daily Chronicle. August 20, 1923. p. 8. 
  9. ^ "Special collections: UI buildings - M". University of Idaho Library. Retrieved November 24, 2012. 
  10. ^ Go - UI athletic facilities - Memorial Gymnasium - accessed 2010-04-05
  11. ^ Emerson, Paul (January 21, 1976). "Dome opener". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. p. 1B. 
  12. ^ Barrows, Bob (January 20, 1976). "Idaho cage great Gus Johnson returns to Palouse". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. p. 1B. 
  13. ^ Spotleson, Bruce (January 22, 1976). "WSU also captures alumni game 74-63". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. p. 1B. 
  14. ^ "Vandal boxers swamp Cougars". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). February 13, 1950. p. 111. 
  15. ^ "Vandals drops ring program". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. June 9, 1954. p. 8D. 
  16. ^ "Money reasons cause Idaho to drop boxing". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. June 9, 1954. p. 9. 
  17. ^ "University of Idaho ends notable year". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). June 12, 1929. p. 4. 

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