Alumni Gymnasium

Dublin Core


Alumni Gymnasium


Education; Lee County, AL; Auburn University; Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical College; Bragg, Tom; Alumni Gymnasium; Lockwood, Frank; Rogers, Will; Griffith, D.W.; The Birth of a Nation; Toomer's Corner; Donahue, Mike; James E. Foy Hall; Auburn, AL


Irritated by the state’s flat refusal to fund a gymnasium for Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical College, Tom Bragg, the president of the Auburn Alumni Association, solicited funds from Auburn graduates all over the country. In February 1916, noted local architect Frank Lockwood finished the new facility, which contained a basketball court that occasionally doubled as a dance hall. Any entertainment booked by the college, including homecoming dance bands, performed in Alumni Gymnasium. The building hosted some of the most noteworthy entertainers and performing artists of the first half of the twentieth century, including Will Rogers. After a screening of D.W. Griffith’s 1915 silent film, The Birth of a Nation, a race riot almost broke out as agitated male college students gathered at Toomer’s Corner to harass local African Americans. Mike Donahue, Auburn’s football coach, calmed the angry mob and convinced them to disband, diffusing the potentially disastrous situation. In 1972, the college demolished Alumni Hall to make way for the expansion of the Student Union Building (Foy Hall). James E. Foy Hall occupies the site where Alumni Gymnasium formerly resided at 282 West Thach Avenue, Auburn University.


Taylor McGaughy


Image Sources:

Text Source: Ralph Draughon, Jr., Delos Hughes, and Ann Pearson, Lost Auburn: A Village Remembered in Period Photographs (Montgomery: NewSouth Books, 2012), 29-30.


Alabama Cultural Resource Study




Taylor McGaughy


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