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FIFTY YEARS OF THE HOUSTON FIELD HOUSE



Ron Silver ’54 Edgewater, Fla.

I was on the freshman hockey team in 1950, with three of my teammates going on to win the NCAA Championship in 1954. It was a thrill, even as a freshman, playing with the eventual All-American, Abbie Moore, Jim Shildneck, and Fran Paradise. Before the ice was laid each season, Ned Harkness would get us in condition with windsprints up and down the stands. On the ice, more windsprints. I think it was his insistence on conditioning that enabled that undermanned team to win as it did.

I remember, in 1953, pushing a rig consisting of two 50-gallon drums filled with water dripping through cloth bags to make new ice—after having scraped the old ice with ordinary snow shovels. I was a rink rat and this was before the Zamboni came. I also checked hats and coats for dances and served as rink guard during public skating sessions. Needed any money I could get (see below).

A very poignant memory involves how myself and wife Phyllis, Don and Fran Hyatt, and Elt and Nancy Burger divided up the games that 1953-54 championship season. You see, we had adjacent apartments in the Wyck and each couple had a baby girl. There were nine home games that year. So the boys got to babysit the three kids once each and the wives twice each. Sounds a little unfair, maybe? Not when you understand that the ladies did not like hockey and agreed to the deal because it gave each of them seven nights out that they would not have enjoyed otherwise. We had little money—certainly not for entertainment—no clothes dryers, kerosene space heaters in poorly insulated apartments, and a bitterly cold winter that year. The Field House was warmer!

One more memory is refreshed by a 1950 photo I have, taken from the top of Peck Drive. It plainly shows that part of Tin Town and the east (back) side of the Field House, with smokestack, several ’30s and ’40s vintage cars in Peck Drive, and the empty field north of the Field House, before it was improved.

I think our class was the last to use Tin Town for freshman housing. We sure remember the long walk down past the Field House to classes in all kinds of weather. Tintown is gone, of course, and I doubt that the smokestack is still standing. I wonder how many remember the proper name for Tin Town.

Ron Silver ’54 Edgewater, Fla.

 

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