SHEBOYGAN – The Sheboygan Armory has been gone for greater than a yr now. Its sturdy concrete construction is lacking from the town’s lakefront, and all that continues to be now are the reminiscences.
In 1940, the Armory was eagerly anticipated by the town’s residents. On Might 13, 1940, the town’s frequent council requested the Works Progress Administration to approve building of a municipal armory and auditorium.
In keeping with a 1942 Sheboygan Press clipping from Katie Reilly on the Sheboygan County Historic Analysis Middle, when the quarter-million-dollar, 3,500-seat Armory was opened for the primary time, it was mentioned the constructing ended lengthy efforts to safe appropriate armory and neighborhood auditorium services right here.
Not lengthy after, the frequent council in September 1942 picked a spot in approving the previous Freyberg Lumber location. The next month, Edgar A. Stubenrauch’s plans had been chosen by the council for the brand new Armory.
The WPA gave the challenge a inexperienced gentle on Dec. 7, 1940. That was a yr to the day earlier than the assault on Pearl Harbor and the nation’s entry into World Struggle II. WPA initiatives helped the nation get better from the Nice Melancholy.
On Jan. 13, 1941, Sheboygan officers turned over shovels of grime to offer the official begin of the challenge.
In Might 1942, the primary occasion for the general public was marketed within the Sheboygan Press. The Mammoth Olympia Indoor Circus, which simply got here from a efficiency on the Chicago Stadium, was mentioned to characteristic 14 huge acts. The Chicago Stadium was initially the house of the town’s NHL hockey group and was torn down in 1994.
The ticket costs marketed had been 55 cents for adults and 28 cents for kids with a barely greater $ 1.10 quantity for reserved seating.
The acts included bicycle-riding acts, a bears act, an aerial act and clowns with different extra points of interest.
The Armory was additionally house to knowledgeable Sheboygan basketball group in the course of the early years of the Nationwide Basketball Affiliation. In 1950, Sheboygan had the smallest facility in NBA historical past, in keeping with historian Brian Gaynor.
It is not like Sheboygan did not attempt to have a fantastic NBA group. In keeping with Gaynor, on March 10, 1950, participant Jack Phelan scored a season-high 15 factors in Sheboygan’s 141-104 rout of the Denver Nuggets on the Armory. Sheboygan set eight NBA data in that recreation, together with complete factors and a group assists mark of 51 that stood till the Chicago Bulls topped it in 1971. Phelan, the final surviving Sheboygan NBA participant, would die at age 95 in 2021.
The Armory was a sizzling spot for basketball, even after the professionals left city. Sheboygan North vs. Sheboygan South video games had been wildly anticipated video games on the facility. These video games would go on till 2007, when new fieldhouses at each North and South closed out that a part of Sheboygan historical past.
With the constructing’s future doubtful, many issues had been tried to save lots of the construction, together with Rockets for Colleges, which introduced many area reveals to the Armory ground.
Blood drives and Hmong New Yr occasions had been held on the facility till the town determined to shut it. Age and lack of upkeep additionally cursed the constructing, rendering it far too costly to renovate.
When the constructing closed, it nonetheless had one of many authentic Kewaunee boilers transformed to pure gasoline in service.
Demolition started in July 2020 and by the top that yr, the good concrete constructing was no extra.
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