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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wharton Field House

Wharton Field House was built in 1928. It is one building where both my father and I coached basketball games. My father coached at Fulton High School in the 1930's. During that era, Fulton had some good small school teams so my father scheduled Moline. Back then a small school did not only have its hands full playing a school with about 10 times its enrollment, the small school had to adjust to the larger courts the big schools had.

Today we think of basketball courts being uniform. Obviously there is a difference between college (94 feet) and high school (84 feet) courts, but usually all high school courts are the same. In the '90's when we played at Ottawa, there court was about 4 feet narrower which made shooting a three in the corner tougher. Years ago, we played girls games at the old UTHS school, there they had the old 3 foot line when the ball was taken out.

In the 1930's clear up to the early 1960's, some high school courts had different dimensions. My father said the Fulton court was only about 65-70 feet long, so going to Moline was a big change. But the big deal about a court like Wharton in the 1930's was that there were no poles on the court. Savanna's gym in the late 1950's was like many of the era, going down one sideline, there were poles just along the sideline to support the balcony. In some gyms the poles were on the court and in others right on the edge of the court.

So for me, whenever we go to Wharton, I have to wonder what it must have looked like to those Fulton players in the 1930's.

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