Lake Maxinkuckee Its Intrigue History & Genealogy Culver, Marshall, Indiana

Gymnasium & Recreational Building  

During 1903-04 a splendid gymnasium was constructed. In its relation to the physical training of the cadets this was as important and complete an addition to the school's equipment as was the riding hall, erected some years previous, and was again a demonstration of the school's policy to build only the best and fittest, and to afford its cadets unequalled facilities in every department.

The issue of 7 June 1906 of the Culver Citizen reported one of the first great fires of Culver - The CMA $50,000 new gymnasium burned to the ground around midnight Friday. When discover the trumpeter was sounded and the bucket lines were formed from the lagoon to the building. The gym was 130 by 76 feet and had been erected in 1904; Albert Knell was the architect and John E. Barnes the contract. It was covered by insurance and immediate plans were made to replace it

This building was destroyed by fire June 1, 1906, but was immediately rebuilt. This is the largest and most complete private school gymnasium in existence. It is constructed in the Tudor Gothic style of architecture. The main gymnasium hall is seventy-five by one hundred and forty feet. It has walls of white, enamel brick, capped by a heavy oak rail, to which are fastened pulley weights and other wall apparatus. The floor is of polished hard maple. A suspended running track-seventeen laps to the mile-and gallery, skirt the four walls. The roof is supported by steel trusses, and no pillar or post mars the ample floor space. Opening into the main hall are apparatus room, measuring room, filled with the best anthropometric apparatus, director's room, locker room, drying room, and baths. In connection with the latter is a system of showers designed, or it might be said, invented, especially for this building. The class, after exercising, marches around the shower room, and on completion of the circuit has received a scientifically regulated shower bath, warm on entrance and gradually, by an ingenious arrangement, decreasing in temperature so that the water at the end is of an invigorating coolness.

The Natatorium/swimming pool, built in 1917 includes a racing pool and separate diving tank.

Recorded in the issue of 13 Dec 1922 of the Culver Citizen is the account of the Recreational Building Fire - It is said it broke out in the north end of the building around 5 o'clock. The cause was unknown. It had been built in 1898 as the original riding hall. Estimated damage was $150,000 to 250,000.

1930 - May 28 - A fire from an unknown cause threatened the gymnasium at the Culver Military Academy, Sunday morning. The estimated damage will amount from $5,000 to $10,000.

1977 - Nov. 26 - 27, 'Little Gym' burned to the ground in an early evening arson fire. It virtually exploded in flames as 70 years of floor varnish and roofing tar were ignited by an arsonist. Valiant efforts by local fire departments from as far as Plymouth and Monterey, joined with the cadet fire brigade and saved the swimming pool, the McMillen Athletic Center including cadet and co-ed dressing rooms and, quite likely, the Recreation Building. All that remained was the facade of the building. The contents were a total loss - Team uniforms, athletic equipment, records, and trophies in the Hall of Fame were destroyed. A mentally ill student had set the fire, then joined the cadet fire brigade in attempting to save the structure. He was identified and dismissed.
Was replaced by the Rueben H. Fleet gym in 1980, named for Culver grad and air mail pioneer and Consolidated Aircraft founder Fleet.

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