In Memoriam: The Field House (1947-2019)

Caroline Ahearn ‘20

Chief News Editor

On Friday, April 5, the Holy Cross campus was changed forever. The demolition of the Field House to make room for the $30-million Joanne Chouinard-Luth Recreation and Wellness Center, expected to be completed by the fall of 2020, began with a bang (and a crash, and a boom).

While the change marks an exciting step towards providing better opportunities for health and wellness for all Holy Cross students, the Field House has over seven decades of history on the top of Mount Saint James.

The Field House began its life as a surplus airplane hangar from a Naval base in Davisville, RI. In 1947, when postwar federal regulations prevented the construction of a gymnasium on campus, Holy Cross officials secured the building for the Field House from Camp Endicott in Rhode Island. Fr. Healy, the president of Holy Cross, learned in January of 1947 from the federal Public Works Agency that the Government would make the hangar available to the College, and pay to transport it to Holy Cross and reconstruct it on the campus. The College paid for the site preparation. The project was announced in April of 1947, and the Field House opened in March of 1948.

The Field House has a rich history and has served an important role in the lives of so many Crusaders. Most notably, it hosted a speech by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1962. But on a smaller, more personal scale, the Field House has hosted so many students and families on Accepted Students Day, or during Gateways Orientation. It has been a place for teambuilding and bonding, for fun and games, and for making memories as members of the Holy Cross community.

At the age of 72, the Field House has lived a long and full life, and we at The Spire thank it for all it has contributed to Holy Cross.

Photos by John Cannon.

Categories: News

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