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FIFTY YEARS OF THE HOUSTON FIELD HOUSE



Bob Reip ’54 Washington, N.J.

I didn’t realize that the Field House and I are celebrating 50 years together. I arrived as a freshman in the fall of 1950, to reside in Tin Town at 5 Peoples Drive East. The huge bulk of the Field House was just across the street. (“Liver” Houston was the President of the Institute, but the building was “The RPI Field House” then.)

I remember the posters for the Boston Symphony concert that fall. The one in our hallway had been decorated. Where it said, “Charles Munch and the...,” someone had written “See Charles Munch on peanuts...” I didn’t buy a ticket to the concert, being in the depths of freshman panic and certain that any night away from studying would only mean utter failure. When the music started, however, I went outside and sat on the steps and listened. The power of the orchestra reverberated through the walls. Studying could wait.

The building was complete, but certain refinements were lacking. When hockey season started, the management kindly provided piles of corrugated cardboard squares at the bottom of the steps of the seats. It was easier on the rear end than sitting directly on the cold concrete shelves. I had gotten interested in hockey by stopping on the way back to the dorm to watch practice. There was Coach Ned Harkness, skating backward with a clipboard in his hand, urging his players skating forward to catch up to him. When the freshman hockey team started playing, I found out who those two guys were who had been running all over Tin Town since September, hitting tennis balls with hockey sticks. They were Albert Moore and Jim Pope, who starred on that team and a few years later, on the 1954 NCAA champions.

Bob Reip ’54 Washington, N.J.

 

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