Hello, again History Lovers,
Today’s post gives us a glimpse of just how popular the game of basketball had become by the 1920s. The game was the brainchild of James Naismith in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1891. Needing a game that could be played indoors during fierce New England winters, Dr. Naismith researched other sports that were popular at the time and configured a game that could be played in a relatively small indoor space. With safety in mind, Naismith wanted a game with less physical contact than football yet active enough to help athletes get in shape for the spring track season. The prototype equipment for the game were peach baskets and a soccer ball. Originally the game had only thirteen rules. By the 1910s gymnasiums were being built to accommodate high school and college games. In more rural areas that could not afford to build a new facility, community teams used whatever venue was available.
Playing Basketball in the Blue Grass Community House 1922
A signboard with the words Blue Grass Community House, greet approaching visitors, and sitting back in its surrounding of trees is the house which invites community activities from five townships in Vanderburgh County, Indiana. Most interesting perhaps of all the attractions are the basketball games. Blue Grass Community has ten teams that meet in competitive games or bring in other teams from outside.
The Community Center
The building is a substantial frame structure. The basement is given into a large assembly hall with a cement floor. This is used for serving suppers, large gatherings, and for community fairs. The first floor is the auditorium with a stage and settings, two dressing rooms, and camp chairs to seat two hundred people. This auditorium also acts as a gymnasium and is the scene of many heated contests. A fireplace room on the second floor is both a library and committee room and for small meetings saves the labor and expense of firing the furnace, as well as making an ideal meeting place.
The women look for leadership from Mrs. John S. Riggs, who lives just across the field within calling distance of the building. Dr. C.A. Shake, Rector of the community church, is the leading spirit in all activities and is especially popular with the young folks who keep him busy indeed.
Activities and Programs
Four committees represent Agriculture, Social and Literary Work, Educational Programs, and Recreation, with a chairman for each. Everyone works together and all activities are carried to the Community House: Parent-Teachers Association, Health Talks, Sewing Clubs for girls, all day dress form demonstrations, all day millinery schools, township fairs, fall, and spring club round-up, musicals, home talent plays, the most popular program proving to be the one in which the greatest number of the people themselves take part.
The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, February 1920, Page 716; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.