Today in NC State History: Frank Thompson Gym condemned

January 17, 2013
By Chris Saunders

blog_series6The NC State men’s basketball team played a historic game against High Point in 1948, with the Wolfpack obliterating the Panthers, 110-50. It was the highest scoring game in NC State’s history up to that point, according to an article by Tim Peeler in The Wolfpacker, and it was only the second time in history that a Southern Conference school had scored 100 or more points in a game.

But for all the offense in the contest, it was mostly invisible to the public because the doors to Frank Thompson Gymnasium, which had been home to men’s basketball since it opened in the early 1920s, had been locked amid worry about the building’s structure.

And it was on this day in 1948 that Thompson Gym was condemned.

Peeler wrote that worry over the building’s structure had begun swirling in 1947. Everett Case’s team had been so successful that fans were packing the gym in droves. The Raleigh fire marshal had to cancel the NC State-UNC  game that February because of so many fans trying to get into Thompson Gym.

That worry continued into the 1947-48 season, Case’s second at NC State, when a home game against Duke was canceled because, as Peeler wrote, “the building inspector said there were insufficient exits.”

Thompson Gymnasium, with the construction of Reynolds Coliseum in the backgroung. Photo courtesy of NCSU Libraries.

Thompson Gymnasium, with the construction of Reynolds Coliseum in the background. Photo courtesy of NCSU Libraries.

After the High Point game, the Wolfpack played out the rest of the 1948 home schedule at Memorial Auditorium in Raleigh. Reynolds Coliseum opened in December 1949, becoming the home of Wolfpack men’s basketball until the PNC Arena — then RBC Arena — opened in 1999.

In 2009, the Frank Thompson Gymnasium was renamed Frank Thompson Hall, which now houses the Crafts Center and University Theatre, the home for the dramatic arts at NC State.

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