Monthly Archives: February 2009

Old Gymnasium, 1935, Part 2 of 2

Here are a few photos from the interior of the old gym, before it was remodeled into the auditorium it functions as today.

Just off the northwest corner of the playing surface of the old gym were two very important items.  First, the heater (even though the gym seemed perpetually cold and drafty during basketball season), located just in front of the door to the girls’ dressing room:

1959 Yearbook 039-1 B

The above photo was taken from the 1959 yearbook. These unidentified young men appear to be enjoying themselves.

[UPDATE 3/9/09:  I received an e-mail from Bruce Burton regarding the above photo.  Bruce says that Larry Tyler and Wynne Copeland Tyler have identified these four young men as, from left to right, Mike Burton, Freddie Lamar, Clyde Spence, and Mike Sparks.]

Then there was the scoreboard, which would now be quite antiquated, but functioned well enough in its time:

1958 Yearbook 037-1 A

As is apparent from the picture above (taken from the 1958 yearbook) the balconies went all the way back to the west (stage) wall, and the balcony on the north side was almost within reaching distance of the scoreboard.  The clock part of the scoreboard operated like an old-style stopwatch, in reverse, with minute and second hands.

The photo below, taken from the 1957 B. & P. W. scrapbook, shows the floor-level seating on the south side, and was taken on the occasion of a New Year’s Eve dance sponsored by the P. T. A.  The bottom of the south-side balcony can be seen at the top of the photo.

DSC02267 B

The photo below, also taken at that dance, clearly shows the relationship of the stage to the goal at the west end of the playing surface.  It was possible to sit in chairs on the stage and look down at the games.  Also, it was from here that James Drake took the action photo of Ginger Hamner contained in the 2/13/09 post on this site.

DSC02267 D

At the other (east) end of the gym were located the front doors (although usually only the doors on the south side were used) and the stairways on each side up to the balconies.   The photo below, looking toward the northeast corner of the gym, shows the “Rhythm Club,” and is taken from the 1957 B. & P. W. scrapbook.

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The gentleman in the center of the photo, keeping a watchful eye on these students, is Coach Leo Johnson.

Finally, here is a photo, also taken from the 1957 B. & P. W. Scrapbook on the occasion of the Harvest Festival, which shows a little more clearly the relationship of the east goal to the east wall of the gym.

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Old Gymnasium, 1935, Part 1 of 2

As mentioned in the previous post, the last school year that the old gymnasium was used for junior and senior high school basketball games was 1961–1962.  The first official game in the “new” (now current) gym was in the fall of 1962, with the Bright Star junior boys defeating the Bradley junior boys, 26–22.  (I remember watching that game from the bench.  James Simmons was the Bradley boys’ coach at the time.)

Back to the old gym, though.  In 1997, Frank M. Cochran, Jr., wrote the following piece containing his recollections of the construction and early use of the old gym:

“In 1935, the Federal government, through one of its relief programs, agreed to build gyms for several of the schools in Lafayette County.  At the time, the sawmill at Stamps had gone out of business.  The lumber company gave Bradley a section of tramway (a runway about 8 ft. above the ground).  The W. P. A. crew tore down the tram and ran it through a planer mill.  The government paid for all the labor, except [for] the foreman.  They would only pay three days work for any one man, so the Bradley School Board had to pay the other half of his wages.

The building was a 50 ft. by 90 ft. rectangle for the main part.  The studs were 24 ft. long and, diagonally between each four studs, another braced them.  The big studs were 6×6 and the others were 2 1/2 x 6.  The floor joists were 2 1/2 by 12, planed on the edges only.  The subfloor was planed to a 1–inch thickness.  The finished floor is of the best grade of pine.  About half is 3 inches wide and the rest is 4 inches wide.  … The roof trusses are made of lumber in a semicircular shape.  The overhead ceiling was installed after World War II.  It is of a Masonite-type material.  The stage part was 20 x 50 ft. and had dressing rooms on each side and showers downstairs on ground level.  The back room, called a kitchen, was about 12 x 30 ft.  It was made possible by a gift of $25 by Mrs. McGill.  No money was solicited for the project.  When completed, the cost for the District was $1,625, including insurance for a year.

The building was heated with wood until natural gas became available in 1940.  The electricity was all on one circuit and during plays, etc., it was necessary to have someone near the switch box with a flashlight and a box of fuses.  The light fixtures were aluminum wash pans, inverted with a socket installed.

The seating consisted of a double row of seats on each side, the rear row elevated.  There was a balcony on each side with one row of seating.  In the rear (east), there was a double row of seats.  The scoreboard used cardboard painted numbers and was on a very small triangular platform in the southwest corner, level with the balcony.”

Shown below is the front (east) side of the old gym as it appeared in the 1957 Bradley yearbook:

090220 Old gym front 1957

And here is a slightly different view, from the northeast, which shows the north wall and which is taken from the 1959 Bradley yearbook:

090220 Old gym from northeast 1959, 300 pixels

The east side of the old gym had two entrances, double doors on both the left and right of the center of that wall.  In the center of the east wall itself were two windows, under which a small window for the sale of tickets was located.  Below is the best early, relatively close view of that ticket window that I could find, although what group or class is shown in this view and exactly what year it was taken is unknown.

090220 Old gym front closeup group, 300 pixels

And, finally, below is a photo, in relatively poor condition, which shows an early, very creative use of the front (east) porch of the old gym.  It shows what is apparently a backdrop for a dramatic or musical production.  Note the piano on the right side of the picture.  Judging by some of the automobiles in some other pictures which were apparently taken at the same time as this one, this must have been not very long after the building was constructed in 1935. 

090220 Old gym 1930s musical, 300 pixels

The next post will be a look at the interior of the old gym.

Bradley’s First State Basketball Champions, 1962

As mentioned in the previous post, Bradley has had six senior girls basketball teams win the state championship.  The very first of those was the senior girls of 1962, pictured below in the old gymnasium.  Incidentally, 1961–1962 was the last basketball season for the old gymnasium.

1962 Bradley Yearbook 048-1 B

From left to right:  Earlene Williamson, Patsy Collier, Linda Lamar, Ginger Hamner, Loretta Thompson, Eddie Adkins, Patsy Morgan, Mary Alice Milloway, Marlene Umphries, Pat Givens, and Coach Leo Johnson.  Diane Higdon does not appear in this photo.

In those days, the Lafayette County Tournament was still an annual event, and Bradley defeated Lewisville, 54–35, in the finals of that tournament.  In what was then called the Regional Tournament, held at Genoa Central, Bradley defeated Lewisville, 28–25, and Bright Star, 60–46.  They won the District 7–West Tournament by first defeating Kirby, then defeating Saratoga, 43–27, and Mineral Springs, 59–45.

The Senior Girls won the State Tournament, held in Parkin, by defeating the host Parkin team, 47–38, in the finals.  Diane Higdon Fletcher remembers that the semifinal game was difficult and close, although she is not certain who the opponent was.

Shown below are the State Tournament All-Tournament team, on the court at Parkin after the final game. The four Bradley players selected, Ginger Hamner, Marlene Umphries, Diane Higdon and Linda Lamar are in uniform just to the right of the center of the picture.  The players in uniform on the left side of the picture, one of whom is quite tall, are from Parkin.

1962 Bradley Yearbook 130-1 A

Shown below are some of the members of the team after they arrived home, with the state championship trophy.  The car has obviously been labeled with the word “champs.”

1962 Bradley Yearbook 129-1

According to the 1962 Bradley High School Yearbook, players selected for recognition were:

All-Regional:  Marlene Umphries, Eddie Adkins.

All-District:  Ginger Hamner, Diane Higdon.

All-State:  Marlene Umphries, Ginger Hamner, Diane Higdon, Linda Lamar.

Finally, below is a photo of forward Ginger Hamner working the edge of the free-throw lane in a game in the old gym.  In this age of digital photography, that old gym would have been an amateur photographer’s dream for taking basketball action shots!

1962 Bradley Yearbook 131-1 A

UPDATE 2/25/09:  The above photo was taken by James Drake for the 1962 school yearbook.  He writes:  “This photo was first published in the 1962 Bear Yearbook.  The photo was made with a Rolicord camera with flash while standing on the stage during the 1962 championship season.  Notice the basketball.  That was pure luck and that was why it was chosen for the yearbook.”  Maybe it was luck, James, but that’s an excellent photo!

Basketball Notes, Past and Present

February is high school basketball tournament time, so a look at Bradley’s impact on the Arkansas Activities Association’s record book is perhaps in order.

Most of that impact, of course, occurred on the girls side of the record book.  The Bradley Senior Boys won their only state championship in 1994, but hopefully will add another in the very near future (see below).

The Bradley Senior Girls share the record for the most girls state championships, six, with Guy-Perkins.  Those occurred in 1962, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, and 2000.  Arkansas girls basketball changed from the six-girl, three-on-three format to the five-girl, full-court format after the 1979 season, so all but one of those championships was in the six-girl format.  The 1962, 1966, 1967 and 1968 championships were under the direction of Coach Leo Johnson.  The 1969 championship was under the direction of Coach Jim Reppo.  The 2000 championship in the five-girl, full-court format was under the direction of current Bradley Coach Bennie Ray Harris.

Bradley also shares the record for the most consecutive girls state championships (4, in 1966–1969), with four other schools.  Those are Stephens (1975–1978), Van Buren (1953–56), Marked Tree (dates not listed in the AAA record book), and Fort Smith Northside (1999–2002).  None of those schools won girls state championships in 2008, so Bradley will continue to share this record for at least four more years.

The record for most points scored in a girls state tournament game is held by Camden Fairview, with 94 points in 2007.  However, Bradley is fifth on the list, with 89 points in a state tournament game in 1967.  (The opponent is not listed in the AAA record book, so perhaps a reader can furnish that information.)  The state tournament was actually held in Bradley that year.

One of the more interesting statistics in the AAA record book is the lowest combined score in a girls state tournament game is 40 points, from Bradley defeating Plumerville, 24–16, in 1968.

The most points scored by an individual player in a girls state tournament game is 55, held by Brenda Rhodes of Wilmar in 1984.  However, the next highest total is 45, by Bradley’s Carone Harris in 2000, a total which was equaled by two other players in 2008.

– – – – –

Earlier, mention was made of the state championship hopes of the Bradley Senior Boys this year.  This past Tuesday, they defeated Taylor, 73–21, to run their record to a perfect 28 wins and 0 losses for the year.  Their closest game so far this year came in the finals of the 78th Southwest Arkansas Invitational in Saratoga, where they defeated Stephens, 67–65.  Stephens is a class AA school, one classification higher than Bradley, and had recently been ranked number one in the state in that classification.  So, best of luck to the 2009 Bears!