Duke’s Blue Devils have been celebrating the 75th anniversary of the opening of Cameron Indoor Stadium (called simply, “the new gymnasium” in 1940). On opening day, writer Anthony J. McKevlin gave readers a look at what they could expect from the modern facility.
Duke University tonight will open its new gymnasium, and indications are that a record Dixie basketball crowd will be there to help christen the fine athletic plant.
A basketball game is the opening-night attraction, and Duke and Princeton will square off in the court contest. The game will start at 8:20.
There’ll be pre-game ceremonies, starting at 8 – officials vow the ceremonies will not last more than 15 minutes.
Duke’s new gym has a seating capacity of 9,500 for basketball and other athletic events. The building’s capacity for meetings and programs not requiring a large “playing surface” is 12,000. It is the largest college gymnasium in Dixie.
Word from Duke last night was that more than 6,000 tickets for tonight’s game had been disposed of. Given a break in the weather, the game may be played before a capacity crowd of 9,500.
Principal speaker in the dedication ceremonies will be Robert B. House, administrative dean of Carolina. Dr. W. H. Wannamaker, vice-president and dean of Duke, will preside. Dr. Wannamaker also is president of the Southern Conference.
Dr. Wannamaker will present the building to the university on behalf of the institution’s athletic division, and President W.P. Few will accept for the university.
Reserved-seat tickets will be the rule for basketball games at Duke tonight and hereafter, and this is welcome news to fans. When Carolina opened its new gym last Winter, fans of this section got their first opportunity to purchase reserved-seat tickets for games in a college gym. And thus, for the first time, fans who did not care to see the first game of a freshman-varsity twin bill were able to arrive just in time for the main event – and be assured of a seat.
Here’s some dope on Duke’s new gym, as compiled by Engineer Ted Mann:
Three regulation-size basketball courts; four volleyball courts; one tennis court; facilities for boxing, wrestling, and gymnastics; two large rooms with “earth floors,” for use by classes and teams when outdoor work isn’t in order; dressing rooms; men’s and women’s rest rooms on both the main and balcony floors; a check room; a controlled ventilation system.
The new building is 262 x 175 feet. Steel girders span the building, and so all spectators have an unimpeded view of the basketball court.
In the building are offices of the athletic director and athletic business manager and their staffs.
The gym is connected by underground tunnel with the original Duke Gym, now to be used exclusively for intramural activities and physical education.
A concourse extends around the building, and from the concourse there are 16 ramps leading into the balcony, which is equipped with 6,000 theater-type seats. On the floor of the gym, and for exclusive use of students of Duke, are 3,500 seats in “folding bleachers.”
Fans attending tonight’s game are asked to park their autos on the West parking field of Duke Stadium. The field will be lighted.
Little is known hereabouts of the strength of Princeton’s Tigers, opponents for Eddie Cameron’s Devils in tonight’s basketball attraction. But the home folks believe the Duke boys can take the measure of the Tigers. Cameron’s boys, a bit shy on height, are many and capable. The N&O Jan. 6, 1940
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