News

Marching out of the past

Unknown room above oldest gym yields artifacts
By MIKE BROWN
Reporter Editor


Renovation contractor Thomas Dansby checks out ‘hidden room’ above elementary gym stage containing athletic shoes which have gathered perhaps a half-century of dust. Dansby said there’s another area containing old furniture. 
Reporter/Mike Brown Renovation contractor Thomas Dansby checks out ‘hidden room’ above elementary gym stage containing athletic shoes which have gathered perhaps a half-century of dust. Dansby said there’s another area containing old furniture. Reporter/Mike Brown Nobody expected this summer’s air conditioning project at the elementary gym to yield a little “cultural archeology.”

But that’s exactly what happened.

Workers getting into access areas high above the gym stage found a “hidden” room containing athletic equipment, mostly shoes worn by the Tigers almost certainly a half century ago.

“We thought it was pretty cool,” contractor Thomas Dansby of Austin Titan said. “You look at that stuff and wonder who wore it and when.”

Dansby said there’s a similar area containing old furniture on the opposite side of the stage.

DUSTY—The room is about 20 feet above the stage. “We stepped inside and first thing we noticed were shelves,” Dansby said. “It had obviously been used for storage.”

“There was thick dust all over everything,” he said.

The room wasn’t empty. More than a dozen shoes remained on the shelves and some shoulder pads were on the floor.

“It had obviously been used for athletic storage,” he said. “There’s no way to tell when the last time anyone was in here. But it’s been a long time ago. You can tell that by the dust.”

Some of the shoes have the famous “Chuck Taylor All-Stars” label, the most well-known athletic shoe until the 1960s.

Chuck Taylor joined the Converse company in 1921 where he designed the Converse All-Star. By the 1930s the shoe was the most popular in America and bore Taylor’s name.


Huy Vu of Airco maneuvers around new air conditioning ductwork in gym ceiling as 75-year-old structure gets its first AC upgrade. 
Reporter/Mike Brown Huy Vu of Airco maneuvers around new air conditioning ductwork in gym ceiling as 75-year-old structure gets its first AC upgrade. Reporter/Mike Brown GYM HISTORY—The gym was constructed in 1936 and served as the Rockdale High School gym until 1955, replacing a facility upstairs at City Hall.

Between 1955 and 1980 it was the junior-high gym.

It has served as the elementary gym since 1980.

This summer’s project marks the first time the 75-year- old building has ever been air conditioned.


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2011-07-21 digital edition



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