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Hope gym, built in 1938, damaged by fire

Butch Jordan was a 5-year-old sitting on the south end of the bleachers on the night of Dec. 10, 1949, cheering on the Hope Red Devils. A jam-packed gym watched the home team take on Crispus Attucks, the all-Black school from Indianapolis that struggled to find opponents, often playing in small Indiana towns far from home.

Jordan’s uncle, Dale Perry, led Hope that night with 13 points. Attucks won, 58-33. The following December, led by Hallie Bryant, undefeated Attucks made a return trip to Bartholomew County community. Final score: Attucks 75, Hope 23.

“Not many schools would play Black schools in those days, but Hope’s coach was Joe Foust and he knew (Attucks coach) Ray Crowe,” Jordan said. “After Hope got clobbered by Attucks, Ray told Joe he was looking to upgrade the schedule.”

The gym in Hope, Indiana, which had sat quiet and mostly unused for the past decade, caught fire Wednesday night. Firefighters from Hope and neighboring Bartholomew County fire departments fought the blaze into Thursday morning.

Attucks, famously, soon went on to become one of the most dominant basketball programs in the state, winning state championships in 1955, ’56, and ’59. But an important piece of the story happened before those state titles, in little gyms like the one in Hope.

“It’s a staple of the community,” said Larry Wheeler, a Hope resident.

The gym, which had sat quiet and mostly unused for the past decade, caught fire Wednesday night. Firefighters from Hope and neighboring Bartholomew County fire departments fought the blaze into Thursday morning. Adam Mathis, the Hope deputy marshal, said the cause of the fire remains unknown, though the damage to the gym was substantial and may result in a total loss. Firefighters were forced to retreat from the building as the fire spread to the roof, which collapsed on the north end.

The gym in Hope, Indiana, which had sat quiet and mostly unused for the past decade, caught fire Wednesday night. Firefighters from Hope and neighboring Bartholomew County fire departments fought the blaze into Thursday morning.

More:Indiana is home to the largest high school gyms in the U.S. Here’s a tour of 13 of them.

“The state fire marshal went through (Thursday) evening and most of the damage was on the north side,” Mathis said. “It’s hard to tell at this point (if it can be salvaged). The fire appeared to start in the stage area on the north side. That gym area could be fixed, but the stage area would have to be taken out and redone completely.”

https://www.indystar.com/story/sports/high-school/2022/04/29/indiana-high-school-basketball-hope-gym-built-1938-damaged-fire/9588587002/