The Old Basketball Gym – Walton, Kansas

Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator

With fall sports winding down, it is time to thing about basketball!

Burrton High School Gym, 2017.

Today, most of the gyms student athletes play in are spacious with plenty of room for spectators, but this has not always been the case. Brian Stucky in his book Hallowed Hardwood: Vintage Basketball Gyms of Kansas described gyms built before the 1950s as  “old crackerbox basketball gyms . . .  with tiny courts, balconies, the wall for out-of-bounds.” 

Walton High School was one “crackerbox“gym and a recent donation of photos gives a glimpse into a time gone.

Walton High School after the gym and community building (white structure) was added on, ca. 1925.


Tip Off!

Walton Gym, ca 1945. Walton v. Sedgwick. #11 is Ozzie Schmidt.


Walton Basketball Team, ca. 1947. (lt-rt) Arnold Buhler, Ozzie Schmidt, Art Morris, Vernon Yoder, Marion Esau, Clinton Fisher, Laren Woelk, Jack Brubaker, Mr. Nosen.

1948 Team

Walton High Basketball team, 1948. Coach Arnold Buhler and Mr. Nosen


The Coach

Arnold Buhler

Arnold Buhler graduated from Bethel College and then enlisted in the army during WW2. When he returned home, he worked as superintendent for the Walton school system.  He was also the boys basketball coach.

Walton High, Nov. 1964, the edge of the community building and gym is visible on the left.


We Cordially Welcome You . . .

by Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator

A booklet published by the Newton Chamber of Commerce in 1949 entitled The Newton Guide:Published for the Out-of-Town Visitor was recently donated.

What was there to see and do in Newton in 1949?

 S.E. McCall, President of the Newton Chamber of Commerce, wrote in the introduction;

“We cordially welcome you who are visiting Newton for the first time and to those who have visited here before, we extend a sincere ‘glad to have you back.'”

He noted recent improvements including the “organization of the Industrial Development Corporation, . . . new sewage disposal plant.. . . new fire station.  [and] at least 100 new homes and new residential developments.”  

The purpose of the 33 page document was to highlight the selling points of Newton and surrounding area. Today, the pamphlet gives us a peak at the community at a specific point in time. We also get an idea of what was deemed most important.

Enjoy this trip back to 1949.

Newton Guide

History of Newton

The early beginnings of Newton were briefly mentioned. The focus was on presenting Newton as “a modern city” with schools and churches “rated among the finest in our state.”

“Important Shopping Center”

City Government

 Homes and Education

Churches, Clubs and Lodges

Shuffleboard, Bowling and Skating

Geography and Climate


If you must leave . . .

Little Treasures: Souvenir Spoons

by Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator

While pulling out objects for the Back to the 80s exhibit, I discovered two silver spoons and not just ordinary spoons.

An etching of a school building is on the “spoon” part with a decorative handle that features a “Chief.” The words “High School Building, Newton, Kas” across the top part of the spoon.

In 1888, two new school buildings were constructed, the High School,  later named Cooper School, and McKinley School. Perhaps the spoon was created as a memento from the dedication of the new high school in 1888.

The second spoon seems to have been a graduation keepsake. The school is identified as “Cooper School” and the handle is designed to be a young woman graduate.  A closer looked revealed the name “Estelle” engraved on the diploma in the woman’s hands.

High School, later named Cooper School. 1888-1913.

Cooper School, Newton High School, was located at E 7th & Oak, Newton, Ks.