Images courtesy Special Collections, University of Memphis Libraries
I bet most people today drive right by the White Station High School Gymnasium without knowing — or for that matter, even caring — that this structure on South Perkins Road was considered an architectural marvel in its day.
Its day being 1966, I mean.
Newspapers announced that the new addition to the school was the first “coliseum-type” gymnasium in the city. In this photo, which originally ran in the old Memphis Press-Scimitar newspaper, the school’s basketball coach Sam Lowry (left) and longtime school principal Rush Siler supposedly are “checking progress” on the construction. It looks like a staged photo for the newspaper photographer, if you ask me. Who inspects a dirty construction site wearing the snazzy kind of shoes that Mr. Siler is wearing?
I thought it was interesting that the builders had already attached the polished stainless-steel letters spelling out GYMNASIUM to the front long before the building was finished. The builder was W.F. Jamison Construction Company, in case you were curious.
According to the September 29, 1966, newspaper article, “the $1.1 million facility is to be ready for use in time for this year’s basketball season. It will seat 3,800 people and will be for use by other schools besides White Station.”
Shown below is the rendering for the new gymnasium by the architectural firm of Sanford & Ellis. They did a fine job, I think.