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By BETH ZUMWALT
The Griggsville-Perry little, older gym will be celebrated this weekend as part of the homecoming activities. The gym, in the Griggsville facility, will have it’s 100th birthday this year and tours will be offered before the homecoming game. The tours will be noon-1:45 p.m. The high school wing/small gym will be open to the public for tours and cake—GPHS 100th Birthday! (Please enter through the south doors of the high school building)
Even before Griggsville-Perry had “The Nic,” the little gymnasium was used for most activities. The gym used today was built 1953-54 and is named after Ross Nichols, who was superintendent of Pike County Schools and a former teacher in the Griggsville district.
“It was around 1950 that schools started consolidating and needing more room,” Richard Shelton, a Griggsville resident, who attended the high school with the new gym in the 1953-54 school year. “They closed all the country schools and sent them to Griggsville. Valley City was one. I went to Crump School, west of Maysville. I came for my eighth grade year and then high school. That was in 1949 or 50.”
The older “little gym” served several purposes just as many gymnasiums do today.
“We had everything in there,” Stickman said. “Dances, prom, home coming,”
The little gym was built after a fire destroyed a portion of the school, Friday, Feb. 14, 1919.
Information about the gym was gained from the Independent Press, a booklet entitled “Through These Hallowed Halls,” and from information gathered at the Skinner House Library and Museum.
“Superintendent Theo C Moore was in the building, finishing up some work. About 6 p.m. he opened the door to his office and found the hallway full of smoke. The fire department was summoned and emptied the firehouse. But, a glass broke, giving the fire oxygen. It was then the building was doomed”
The lost of the addition was estimated to be $70,000 and $5,000 in contents. No reason was ever given for the fire.
Students in various grades were spread throughout the city.
Monday, March 10, 1924, teachers and students assembled in the building designed by an architect from Quincy and built by a construction company from Springfield. The new building was connected to the grade school building by an enclosed hallway. The building had modern plumbing, radiators in all rooms and a ventilating system to assure fresh air in the coldest weather. It was made of rough red brick the trim and window sill were yellow and made of sawed stone.
“The Nic” was dedicated in 1954, along with the elementary wing and the cafeteria. It has served the same purposes as the small gym, just with more room.
“In the little gym,we had permanent bleachers on one side and portable bleachers on the stage, Stickman said. “The players sat in front of the stage, on the floor, so people could see. It got pretty crowded along the sidelines.”
The Nic has pull out bleachers on either side of the gym and again the stage has been used for portable bleachers for big events.
Stickman said he played his freshman through junior year in the little gym, but played in the Nic, his senior year.
“Even back then we called it the little gym and the one being built was the big gym.”