Friday, February 26, 2016

Coach Paul Durham monument (also called a 'statue' by some) included in 'Northwest Travel: Exploring McMinnville' article in Feb. 14, 2016, edition of the Bend, Ore., Bulletin newspaper

Article in Bend, Ore., Bulletin newspaper on Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016, Section C1 headlined "Northwest Travel: Exploring McMinnville" includes this text:

=McMINNVILLE —There are two sides to this thriving Willamette Valley city, and they are as easy to see as a pair of bronze sculptures.

=One of them honors a venerated football coach, Paul Durham. The other depicts an American founding father, Benjamin Franklin.

=The figure of Durham, who also served as Linfield College’s athletic director from 1948 to 1968, stands outside the entrance to the private, four-year institution’s stadium, still clutching a pigskin. A quiet advocate of equal treatment of races during the civil rights struggle, he twice took his Linfield Wildcats to play for the national small-college championship (in 1961 and 1965).

=Commissioned by his former players, the sculpture by Northwest artist Heather Greene was unveiled in October 2014. With his flat-top haircut and introspective countenance, the bespectacled Durham (he died in 2007 at the age of 93) symbolizes an upright ethic that radiates from the Christian campus. This is not a party school. Perhaps the only time things cut loose is in late July during the International Pinot Noir Celebration, when students are gone for the summer.

=Durham’s counterpoint is Franklin, who has been sitting on a park bench in the heart of downtown McMinnville for the past six years. The statesman, author, scientist and philosopher of course never visited Oregon — he lived in the 1700s, and was in the grave before Lewis and Clark made their way to the mouth of the Columbia River — but he was also a freethinker and bon vivant.

=That perhaps explains how Gary Price’s whimsical sculpture found its way to the corner of Third and Davis streets. Old Ben is depicted in a relaxed pose, a twinkle in his eye, studying a key that he may have used in his legendary experiment to extract electricity from lightning.

=Ben is also in a position to observe the growth of a city center that the McMinnville Downtown Association promotes as “Oregon’s favorite main street,” and that Parade magazine readers recently voted No. 2 in the country after Collierville, Tennessee. Several new restaurants have added to the ambience of Third Street, already filled shoulder to shoulder with blocks of shops, wine-tasting rooms and McMenamins’ Hotel Oregon, a memorable historic preservation project that opened in 1999.=

Note: The article also includes a photo of the Durham monument, however these (posted here) are two different photos of the Durham monument. These two photos were taken by Rusty Rae during the monument unveiling ceremony held Oct. 18, 2014, during Linfield Homecoming. Rusty Rae gave permission to Wildcatville to post these photos and others after the ceremony.

Friday, February 05, 2016

In 1955, groundbreaking for Linfield's 'new gym' and 'student union building'

The "new gym" and "student union building" were called Riley Gym and Riley Student Center. Source: 2/2/2016 McMinnville News-Register

Below is clipping from 3/1/1955 Oregonian.

According to Linfield Sports Info... 

In 1920, Riley Gym was built adjacent to historic Pioneer Hall at a cost of just over $25,000. Riley Gym served as the basketball home of the Wildcats for 67 seasons. A granddaddy of small college gyms, Riley had its last men's basketball game in February, 1989.

Riley Gym was preceded by a different gym in which its first game was held in December 1921.

Linfield's first on-campus basketball court was located on the north end of campus in the building now known as Newby Hall. The floor was miniature by today's standards and there were no boundary lines. The surrounding walls prevented players from leaving the playing area. As a game was about to start, someone would check that all the doors were closed tight, the ball would be tipped off at center court, and it was every player for himself.

Up until 1907, Newby Hall, nicknamed the "Chem Shack," was illuminated by candles with tin reflectors. In this era, many of the gyms the Wildcats played in were smaller and even more primitive than the one on the Linfield campus.

Around 1900, Linfield played its home basketball games in the old pavilion in the city park. Following practices and games, players had to heat their own shower water using a wood-burning boiler.

A reader said, "... they never did the part about "razing the old gymnasium" - it was still the original when they closed it down in '89." 

Wildcatville says: Correct. But, what an "original" it was! 

Below is a Linfield men’s basketball game story from 12/13/1970 Oregonian. Note:

+“…Linfield’s Riley Gym, where the partisan crowd has been known to make fumbling idiots of competent players.”

+”But then the screaming Riley Gym crowd appeared to take control.”

It was a combination of good coaching, good teams, a tiny gym and rabid fans.