Georgetown Basketball History: Home Courts
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Georgetown has played on 16 different home court settings in its history; unfortunately, only two have actually been on the Georgetown campus (representing less than half of the program's 104 years).

Here is a review of the home courts of the Blue and Gray since 1907.

 1. Washington Light Infantry Armory (1906-07)
15th and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Built: Unknown, before 1891
Razed: c. 1923
Approximate capacity: 1,000

Georgetown's inaugural season was played at the Washington Light Infantry Armory, one block from the White House. Built in 1884 as the lower level to what became known as Albaugh's Grand Opera House, the armory hosted various public exhibitions and sporting events. In the image to the right, a contemporary postcard of Pennsylvania Avenue would place the armory as the white building in the right hand side of the picture.

The building was torn down to make way for the construction of the Department of Commerce Building in the mid 1920's.


 2. Convention Hall (1907-08)
5th and K Streets, N.W.
Built: 1874
Razed: 1946
Capacity: 5,000

Games for the 1907-08 season and the 1908-09 opener were moved to the spacious Convention Hall, the upper floor of the Northern Liberty Market complex, a building spanning 326 feet long and 124 feet wide across a two block section of K and L streets, east of Mt. Vernon Square.

Convention Hall served as a site for numerous civic and social events in the city until a fire destroyed the building in 1946. The rebuilt facility later became the National Historical Wax Museum in 1967. The property was abandoned in the 1980's and is now the site for City Vista, an upscale condominium property.


 3. Odd Fellows Hall (1908-11)
8th and D Streets, N.W.
Built: Unknown
Razed: Unknown
Approximate capacity: Unknown

After the money lost on renting Convention Hall, games were moved to the downtown lodge of the Odd Fellows, a fraternal organization founded in Baltimore in 1819.

The site where the building stood is in the block just north of the Navy Memorial and the National Archives Metro station. (Photo courtesy: Library of Congress)


 4. Arcade Rink (1911-14, 1927-28)
aka: Arcadia, Arcade Auditorium
3134 14th St., N.W.
Built: 1910
Raxed: 1948
Approximate capacity; Unknown

In 1910, games were moved to the Arcade Rink at 14th and Park Road, N.W. Fifteen years later, games in the 1927-28 season were played there.

The building was razed in 1948, as area sporting events were moved to Turner's Arena (later known as Capitol Arena) a few blocks south. It is currently the site of DCUSA, a neighborhood shopping mall. (Photo courtesy: Library of Congress)


 5. Ryan Gymnasium (1914-27)
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Built: 1906
Approximate Capacity: 200

Built in 1906, Ryan Gymnasium was obsolete from the start as a spectator facility, but served as the practice gym and administrative home for the program for 45 years.

A handful of games were played at Ryan before home games were moved there permanently in 1914, and from 1918 through 1923 the team was undefeated in 52 games in its confines.

Georgetown's athletic department vacated the facility in 1951 upon the completion of McDonough Gym. The building was later reconfigured to house the Treasurer's office and later housed an on-campus branch of the Riggs National Bank. In 2005, it reopened as the Davis Center for Fine Arts following a $21 million renovation effort.


 6. Clendenen Gymnasium (1928-29)
4400 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.
Built: c. 1927
Capacity: 1,000

During the 1928-29 season, games shifted from the Arcadia to American University, where Georgetown secured the use of their new Clendenen Gymnasium. As with Ryan Gym, college games at AU soon outgrew Clendenen, as the Eagles played off campus for almost forty years before the completion of Bender Arena in 1985, built on the site where Clendenen has been razed the year before. (Photo courtesy American University)


 7. Tech Gymnasium (1929-40, 1942-43)
2nd and T Streets, N.E.
Built: 1929
Capacity: 1,800

In 1929, the a new campus and gymnasium was created for the students of McKinley Vocational and Washington Tech high schools, later known as McKinley Tech. As one of the first gymnasiums built with basketball in mind, the site became a favorite for a number of area schools, including Georgetown. Georgetown played at Tech throughout the 1930's, and during the 1942-43 wartime season. The gym was also the site of the first integrated high school basketball game in the District, as featured in the Washington Times.

With a declining school-age enrollment in the District, McKinley Tech was closed in 1997. A newly renovated McKinley Tech began classes on the original campus in the fall of 2004.


 8. Central Gymnasium (1932-33)
13th and Clifton Street, N.W.
Built: Unknown
Capacity: Unknown

For one game in the 1931-32 season, Georgetown played a home game at the gymnasium of Central High School, the oldest high school in the District.

Following the 1950 Supreme Court decision that desegregated the Washington public school system, the all-white Central was closed and replaced by the desegregated Cardozo High School, which moved from 8th and Rhode Island streets, N.W. following the decision.


 9. Ritchie Coliseum (1937-38)
Route 1, College Park, MD
Built: 1935
Capacity: 1,700

For one game in the 1937-38 season, Georgetown played a home game at the gymnasium of the University of Maryland.

Ritchie Coliseum was the home of the Terrapin basketball team from 1931 through 1956, when Cole Field House opened. The facility currently serves as the home of Maryland's volleyball and wrestling teams.


 10. Riverside Stadium (1940-42)
Built: 1938
Razed: early 1950's
23rd and E Streets, N.W.
Capacity: 7,000

Washington's first sports "complex", a football field and outdoor rink was constructed adjacent to the Heurich Brewery in 1938. A year later, the rink was enclosed and became home to basketball games for Georgetown and George Washington in the early 1940's.

The Heurich Brewery was sold in 1956 to make way for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The adjacent Riverside area was redeveloped into the Watergate apartment complex.


 11. Brookland Gymnasium (1945-46)
Built: 1919
620 Michigan Avenue, N.E.
Capacity: 1,500

The Hoyas' abbreviated 1945-46 season was played on the campus of Catholic University, where Brookland Gymnasium (built in 1919) sat adjacent to the stadium of the same name, which sat as many as 20,000 in the university's days as a major college football power in the 1930's. Four home games were also played there in 1947 due to conflicts at Uline Arena.

The gym was renovated for offices and is now known as the Crough Center. (Photo courtesy: Catholic University)


 12. Uline Arena (1946-47, 1949-51)
aka Washington Coliseum
2nd and M Streets, N.E.
Built: 1940
Capacity: 7,000

Washington's first pro sports arena, Uline Arena served as a home for three versions of the Washington Capitols (BAA, NBA and ABA) and the Washington Lions of the Eastern Hockey League. The largest building of its kind in the city, it hosted social and sporting events in Washington for nearly a generation, including two stints as the Hoyas' home court.

Following the death in 1958 of its owner and chief promoter, Miguel (Mike) Uline, the building was renamed the Washington Coliseum, where it was the first facility in the U.S. to host the Beatles in February 1964. As the neighborhood evolved, the Coliseum hosted fewer sporting events and became a home for Washington's emerging go-go music of the 1970's and hosted various religious revivals and political rallies into the early 1980's.

The building is currently used as a transfer center for trash haulers and is considered one of the city's most endangered properties by the D.C. Preservation Society.


 13. D.C. National Guard Armory (1947-49)
aka Starplex
23rd and East Capitol Streets, S.E.
Built: 1947
Capacity: 10,000

Georgetown played two seasons at the city's new armory, located next to what is now RFK Stadium, as the local government hoped to expand its sports offerings by having local colleges playing games there. Attendance was low and rents were high, so colleges migrated back to Uline Arena or the gymnasium at Ft. Myer, VA, which hosted home games for George Washington University through 1974 and American University through 1986.

In 1979, Georgetown and Maryland met as a neutral game at the Armory, then known as the "Starplex", due to a scheduling conflict at Capital Centre. Georgetown won the game before a crowd of 6,905, but the teams never returned following the cessation of the series in 1980.


 14. McDonough Gymnasium (1951-81)
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Built: 1951
Capacity: 2,200 to 4,200 (varied)

As early as 1927, plans were announced to build a 7,000 seat replica of the Palestra on the land just outside Healy Gates. Instead, the Depression shelved those grand plans, and a plan to expand Ryan Gym to 3,000 seats failed with the onset of World War II. A decade later, alumni rose to the challenge to get the dirt flying on the lower campus. A $1.25 million campaign built McDonough Gym and added permanence to the sport at Georgetown.

For its time, McDonough gave the school's seven sport athletic program all it needed. The gym featured hosted a 3,500 seat main court (capacity has varied widely through the years) and stage for theatrical performances, along with coaches offices, weight rooms, a squash court, and rooms for the Physical Education and Student Health programs. In earlier years, students lived in dorm rooms located within the gym.

The gym hosted President Eisenhower's inaugural ball in 1953, concerts with everyone from Ray Charles to Bruce Springsteen to The Who, and was the sole intramural outlet for GU students until 1979. Its claim to fame, however, is basketball, where the Hoyas had a .500 or better home record in 29 of the 30 seasons it played there.

Ticket interest in the Hoyas following the 1980-81 season moved home games to Capital Centre, although a small number of games were played in McDonough in 1982. Big East rules do not allow Georgetown to host games at McDonough because of its reduced capacity. The 14th oldest active gymnasium in Division I, McDonough is one of only two in that group which has not been substantially renovated.

 


 15. Capital Centre (1981-97)
aka US Air Arena, US Airways Arena
1 Harry S. Truman Dr., Landover, MD
Built: 1974
Razed: 2002
Capacity: 19,035

Built in 1974 to accommodate the arrival of the NBA's Baltimore Bullets and an NHL expansion franchise, Capital Centre was the showplace of the suburban arena building boom of the 1970's. The first arena to have a video screen, the arena was the center of Washington's sports landscape for over 20 years.

Georgetown first played at Capital Centre in the mid-1970's with a series of games against Maryland, and moved home games there (a 30-45 minute drive from the Hilltop) in December 1981. "The House That Ewing Built" was home to many great Georgetown performances, despite the fact that there was no college environment in the vast arena.

Renamed US Air Arena in 1994, the Hoyas played its last game in Landover in November 1997, a week before the opening of MCI Center. With no remaining tenants, the building was razed in 2002 to make room for a shopping center.


 16. Verizon Center (1997-present)
aka MCI Center
7th and G Streets, N.W.
Built: 1997
Capacity: 20,500

With the move of Washington's pro teams to a new downtown arena, Georgetown followed suit in 1997. A state of the art facility, it has hosted most Georgetown games since its opening. The facility, originally called MCI Center, was renamed in 2006 following MCI's acquisition by Verizon Corp.


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