The Best Playing Court in Kansas: Lindley Hall

by Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator

On Sunday, October 15, HCHM will host Jordan Poland, Director of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame. He will present Athletic Cathedrals of Kansas. Poland will explore some of the more memorable venues in Kansas,  building them and their role in the community. Newton has it’s own sports cathedral in Lindley Hall.

Built in 1934, Lindley Hall was home to some of Newton High’s most successful basketball teams under the leadership of Frank Lindley and later John Ravenscroft. The new building could seat from 2,200 to 3,000 people for basketball games.  When used as an auditorium it could seat 1,250 on the main floor and 1,600 in the balconies.

The problem of what to name the new structure was easily solved.

“Acting upon scores of requests from students and townspeople, the board of education . . . formally adopted [Lindley Hall] . . . as a tribute to Frank Lindley in recognition of his long years of service to Newton high school as athletic coach and principal.”

The building measured 122 feet wide by 143 feet long and 44 feet in “extreme height.”  The building materials used included 430,000 bricks, 65 tons of steel and 5,000 sacks of cement.

“The best lighted gymnasium and playing court in the state of Kansas”

Over the court, the wide span of the beams, 121 feet, allowed a roof with no pillars anywhere in the building. A new type of goal was also installed. The goal was designed so that it could be drawn up to the ceiling when not needed during games, giving versatility to the space. With 54 recessed ceiling lights, each with a potential 500 watts, Lindley Hall was “the best lighted gymnasium and playing court in the state of Kansas.”

Interior Lindley Hall, 1934.

In addition to the basketball court, there was a stage, with storage underneath, and two dressing rooms.

Basketball practice in the new facility started November 27, 1934.

A program of dedication for the new $80,000 gymnasium-auditorium was held December 14, 1934.

Frank Lindley was the Newton High School men’s basketball coach from 1914-45.  He was one of the first to use the zone defense. Lindley finished his coaching career with a record of 594-118, 8 state titles and 8 state runner-up.  He also served as Newton High School principal from 1921-1951.

Sources:

  • Evening Kansan Republican, 28 November 1934,
  • Program: The Dedication of Lindley Hall, Newton Public Schools, December 14, 1934. HCHM Archives.

Purple & Gold and the Lead We’ll Hold!

“Purple & Gold,
Purple & Gold,
We’re in the Lead,
and the Lead We’ll Hold”

*NHS Cheer from 1914

NHS Football Letter, unknown date, HCHM School Collection, HCHM, Newton, Ks

by Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator 

Recently the question was asked: ‘Have the Newton High School colors always been black and gold?’

The first NHS Annual that is available at HCHM is The Mirror from 1904 and although class colors are mentioned, school colors are not.

The Mirror, Newton High School Annual, 1904. HCHM Archives, Newton, Ks

Newton High School, 1904, The Mirror, NHS Annual, HCHM Archives, Newton, Ks

Purple & Gold

“Put on your purple bonnet,
With Newton High School on it,
And we’ll all get ready for the fray.
Can’t you see us Grinning
Don’t you know we’re winning
On the great Foot Ball Day.”

The first time school colors are mention is in the 1914 Newtone. A new High School was completed in 1914 with “one of the best gymnasiums and basket-ball courts in Kansas.” This is also the year that Frank Lindley was hired as all around coach for NHS.

The Newtone, Newton High Annual, 1914. HCHM Archives, Newton, Ks.

Postcard of the new Newton High School, 1914.

The page of “Yells and Songs” clearly mention purple and gold.

Page of Cheers in The Newtone, NHS Annual, 1914, HCHM Archives, Newton, Ks

NHS Letter, unknown date, HCHM School Collection, HCHM, Newton, Ks

1932 Basketball

Unknown date, HCHM School Collection, HCHM, Newton, Ks

1935 Basketball

Purple and gold wool sweater worn by Lucile Mitchell Miller on game days.

Lucile Mitchell Miller, 1920.

The colors for Newton High School remained purple and gold until 1945.

Navy Blue & Gold

John Ravenscroft returned to Newton High after receiving an honorable discharge on May 8, 1945 to coach basketball. He later recalled how the school colors were changed from purple and gold to dark navy blue and gold.

“I told Mr. Lindley that the school needed a set of 15 new basketball uniforms and warm-ups since none had been purchased throughout the war.  Mr. Lindley and I both knew that the school was having serious trouble with the old purple and gold uniforms because the purple had faded to different shades in the same set.”

The two men discussed this issue with the supplier Campbell Sporting Goods, but the supplier could not “guarantee that  sets of uniforms made of different orders of material from their suppliers would be the same shade of purple.”

Lindley and Ravenscroft agreed on dark navy blue and gold for the new uniforms for the 1945-1946 school year.

NHS Warm Up, HCHM Sports Collection.

Ravenscroft met with  student body officers to show the color swatches.  The students agreed with the dark blue and gold colors and new uniforms and warm-ups were ordered.

The student body met in September 1945 to confirm the color change. When viewing the color swatches again, a mistake was made and the students thought the color was black.  So the colors voted on September 1945 were black and gold.

Ravenscroft explained:

 “I was not involved in the confirmation and did not know of the error until after the 1945 State Championship in March 1946. Mr Lindley said, ‘Forget it.  Plain dull black is horrible, but if they can’t tell the difference, they won’t know the difference.'”

Throughout Ravenscroft’s tenure at NHS, the uniforms were always navy blue and gold.

Black & Gold

After Ravenscroft left in 1958, the new athletic director, Curtis Fischer, ordered new uniforms with the colors black and gold, not realizing the earlier mistake. He was “horrified when he saw the new uniforms in plain black instead of colorful, shiny, light reflecting dark navy blue.”

The supplier would not take the uniforms back so the school lived with “dull, light-absorbing black ever since.”

Susan Griffith Agel  Letter 1972.

1st NHS Girls Basketball Team, 1972, Women’s Sports In Harvey County

Sources:

  • “From Purple to Black: by John Ravenscroft in Buller, Curtis.  Can’t You Hear the Whistle Blowing?  Hesston, Ks:  Prestige Printing, 1997, HCHM Archives, HCHM, 200 N. Poplar, Newton, Ks. p. 94.
  • NHS Yearbook Collection, HCHM Archives, Newton, Ks, 1904-1940s.
    • The Mirror, 1904.
    • Newtone, 1914.

Past Posts about NHS Basketball