Memorial Gymnasium (University of Idaho)

War Memorial Gymnasium is a 2,500-seat multi-purpose indoor arena in the northwest United States, on the campus of the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho. Opened 94 years ago in November 1928,[7][8] the venue honors state residents who gave their lives in the service of their country in World War I.[4][9][10]

Memorial Gymnasium
Gym tower's west face in 2007
Location1001 University Ave.
University of Idaho
Moscow, Idaho, U.S.
Coordinates46°43′35″N 117°00′50″W / 46.7265°N 117.014°W / 46.7265; -117.014Coordinates: 46°43′35″N 117°00′50″W / 46.7265°N 117.014°W / 46.7265; -117.014
Area0.3 acres (0.12 ha)
ArchitectDavid C. Lange[2][3]
T. Pritchard - ass't
Architectural styleTudor-Gothic
heavily buttressed
NRHP reference No.77000466[1]
Added to NRHPOctober 10, 1977
Memorial Gymnasium
"Mem Gym"
Moscow is located in the United States
Location in the United States
Moscow is located in Idaho
Location in Idaho
Full nameWar Memorial Gymnasium
Address1001 University Ave.
LocationUniversity of Idaho
Moscow, Idaho, U.S.
OwnerUniversity of Idaho
OperatorUniversity of Idaho
Broke ground1927 (summer)[4]
Opened1928 (November),[4]
94 years ago
Construction cost$616,767 - (original)
($9.73 million in 2021[6])
ArchitectDavid C. Lange[2]
Theodore Pritchard - ass't
Structural engineerA.T. Schenck
General contractorVictor N. Jones & Assoc. - Boise
Idaho Vandals men's basketball
(1928–1976, 2020–21)
Idaho Vandals women's basketball
(1974–1976, 2020–21)
Idaho Vandals women's volleyball

The architectural style is Tudor-Gothic and is heavily buttressed; the chief architect was David C. Lange,[2][3] the head of the university's architecture department. The west end addition was built from 1951–52,[5] and the building was renovated in 1954.[11] Ivy partially covers the brick and concrete exterior, which is decorated with crouching football player gargoyles and stained glass windows.[12] The elevation at street level is approximately 2,600 feet (790 m) above sea level.

Its predecessor was the original gymnasium (and armory), located directly east;[13] constructed in 1904;[14] it has been reconfigured and continues on campus as the "Art and Architecture South" building.[15] During its time as the varsity basketball venue, it was also a library, with bookshelves along the walls.[16][17] After the Memorial Gym opened, it became the women's gym.

Memorial Gymnasium was the primary home of Vandal basketball until January 1976,[18] replaced by the newly-enclosed Kibbie Dome;[19][20] the Dome's basketball configuration was renamed "Cowan Spectrum" in early 2001. Future hall of famer Gus Johnson played for the Vandals during the 1962–63 season,[17] and the "Mem Gym" was frequently sold out, with the attendance estimated at 3,800.[21][22][23] During the 1940s and early 1950s, Idaho had a nationally prominent boxing team; over five thousand attended a dual meet against Palouse neighbor Washington State in 1950.[24][25] It was dropped by the university as an intercollegiate sport in 1954,[26][27] and discontinued by the NCAA after 1960.

The Memorial Gym is the current home court of Vandal women's volleyball, with a portable Taraflex court since 1999.[28] It occasionally hosts early season basketball games on the hardwood, depending upon the late season football schedule, and the facility is used extensively for physical education classes, intramurals, and open recreation. Commencement ceremonies for the university were traditionally held in the gym from 1929,[29] through 1975.[30][31] The Kibbie Dome has hosted the primary ceremony for all graduates since 1976,[32] and the Mem Gym is one of several campus venues used for the subsequent individual college ceremonies for the awarding of diplomas.

While the 2020–21 school year was initially expected to be the last for Mem Gym as a varsity athletics venue, following the 2021 completion of the 4,200-seat Idaho Central Credit Union Arena (ICCU Arena),[33] that plan changed. ICCU Arena became the new home of Vandals men's and women's basketball, but volleyball remained in Mem Gym.

At just 49 years of age, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. The narrow swimming pool in the basement of the Mem Gym was retired in 1970, when the new swim center opened. The Kibbie Dome lacked locker rooms for its first seven years, so the Vandals and visiting teams continued to dress in the Memorial Gym. The completion of the East End Addition in the fall of 1982 ended the long trek, frequently in rain or snow during basketball season.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c "University professors". Gem of the Mountains, University of Idaho yearbook. 1928. p. 39.
  3. ^ a b "Idaho Memorial Gym plans ready". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). June 9, 1926. p. 1.
  4. ^ a b c "Memorial Gymnasium". Gem of the Mountains, University of Idaho yearbook. 1929. p. 9.
  5. ^ a b "Memorial Gym addition gives Idaho expanded athletic plant". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). August 11, 1952. p. 9.
  6. ^ 1634–1699: McCusker, J. J. (1997). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States: Addenda et Corrigenda (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1700–1799: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1800–present: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved April 16, 2022.
  7. ^ "Memorial gym opening dated". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). June 2, 1928. p. 3.
  8. ^ Russell, Eugene H. (November 4, 1928). "Washington State College overwhelms Idaho, 26 to 0, before homecoming crowd of 10,000". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 1, sports.
  9. ^ "Idaho U plans memorial gym". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). August 20, 1923. p. 8.
  10. ^ "Idaho U honors is soldier dead". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). June 23, 1921. p. 6.
  11. ^ "Special collections: UI buildings - M". University of Idaho Library. Retrieved November 24, 2012.
  12. ^ Go - UI athletic facilities - Memorial Gymnasium - accessed 2010-04-05
  13. ^ "Armory and Gymnasium". Gem of the Mountains, University of Idaho yearbook. (volume 4). May 1906. pp. 70–71.
  14. ^ "Armory and Gymnasium". Gem of the Mountains, University of Idaho yearbook. (1906, volume 3). May 1905. pp. 26–27.
  15. ^ "Art and Architecture South". University of Idaho Library. (Campus photograph collection). Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  16. ^ "Gymnasium". University of Idaho Library. (Campus photograph collection). 1907. Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  17. ^ a b Brody, Tom C. (February 18, 1963). "Big days in the pea capital". Sports Illustrated. pp. 50–52.
  18. ^ Emerson, Paul (January 21, 1976). "Dome opener". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1B.
  19. ^ Barrows, Bob (January 20, 1976). "Idaho cage great Gus Johnson returns to Palouse". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1B.
  20. ^ Spotleson, Bruce (January 22, 1976). "WSU also captures alumni game 74-63". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1B.
  21. ^ Carter, Jack (December 21, 1962). "Hot-shooting Vandals whip Cougars 94–57". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 2.
  22. ^ "Idaho belts Oregon". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). AP, UPI reports. February 9, 1963. p. 1B.
  23. ^ Carter, Jack (March 2, 1963). "Vandals defeat Bulldogs despite Wilson's 37 points". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 2.
  24. ^ "Vandal boxers batter Cougars to take fourth straight victory". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. February 12, 1950. p. 8.
  25. ^ "Vandal boxers swamp Cougars". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). February 13, 1950. p. 111.
  26. ^ "Vandals drops ring program". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. June 9, 1954. p. 8D.
  27. ^ "Money reasons cause Idaho to drop boxing". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. June 9, 1954. p. 9.
  28. ^ "War Memorial Gymnasium". (Moscow, Idaho): Don Verlin Basketball Camps. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  29. ^ "University of Idaho ends notable year". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). June 12, 1929. p. 4.
  30. ^ "Graduation". Gem of the Mountains, University of Idaho yearbook. 1968. p. 260.
  31. ^ "1975 graduates mark last graduation in Memorial gymnasium". Gem of the Mountains, University of Idaho yearbook. 1975. p. 236.
  32. ^ "1976 graduates mark first graduation in ASUI Kibbie Dome". Gem of the Mountains, University of Idaho yearbook. 1976. p. 234.
  33. ^ Harriman, Peter (October 4, 2018). "Significant donations help University of Idaho move ahead with its unique arena". The Spokesman-Review. Spokane, WA. Retrieved January 24, 2019.

External linksEdit