History of the Campuses and Buildings of the University of Rochester
United States Hotel Prince Street Campus Eastman School of Music Medical Center River Campus Mid-Campus South Campus Mt. Hope Campus Graduate, Family and Veteran Housing Central Utilities Other Off-Site Buildings
Prince Street Campus Alumni Gym

1904 Alumni Gymnasium, from Library of Congress

Pictures of Alumni Gymnasium

The Alumni Gymnasium was funded through Alumni subscriptions and opened on June 11, 1900.  The building was demolished in 1932 to allow room for construction of Cutler Union.

1900 Interpres, Class of 1901
Pages 60-62: The Gymnasium, including floor plans

1900 Fifty-First Annual Catalogue of the University of Rochester
Pages 23-25:  The Alumni Gymnasium with floor plans

1910 The University of Rochester : buildings and grounds
Pages 19-20:  Alumni Gymnasium

1927 Rochester, the making of a university, by Jesse Leonard Rosenberger, with an introduction by President Rush Rhees.
Page 235:  The need of a gymnasium was from time to time urged, by the undergraduates in particular. The alumni appeared to be less generally concerned about it; but it was reported that at the alumni dinner in 1890 two of the alumni pledged $2,000 toward a gymnasium. That was about as far as the matter got for some years to come, although the agitation for a gymnasium was renewed at times, with increasing insistency. Meanwhile the catalogue stated that an arrangement had been made whereby students in the university might, by the payment of a nominal fee, enjoy all the privileges of the new building of the Young Menís Christian Association, which building contained a completely equipped gymnasium.
Page 261:  It was a source of gratification that the efforts of the alumni to provide a gymnasium had been so far successful that the completion of the building might be expected within the coming year.
In his report dated May 25, 1900, Acting President Burton said with regard to the gymnasium that it would be used as an assembly hall during commencement week and that at the beginning of the fall term it would be fully equipped and ready for daily use. Its completion was a significant event as introducing into the life of the college the new and valuable element of physical training, with all the incidental benefits that it brings; but it was still more significant as a proof of the interest felt by the alumni in the college. The gymnasium was the gift, not of one man, nor of a few men, but of hundreds of former students, who remembered their alma mater with gratitude and were not unmindful of her needs. [It cost something over $22,000.]

1977 History of the University of Rochester, by Arthur J. May (on-line version with footnotes)
Chapter 11, Hill and the Interregnum
In 1897 an alumni committee appealed to graduates to subscribe a minimum of $25,000 and inspected gymnasiums at New England colleges to pick up ideas. The Interpres of 1898, "hopefully dedicated to the Alumni Gymnasium Committee," carried an architect's rendering of the proposed structure and reiterated that the U. of R. was the "only important college in the east without appliances for the needed physical culture of students." "With the student body, the millennium is the erection of a 'gym,' " it was remarked. Subscriptions came in very slowly, but in 1899 enough money was in sight to move ahead with construction plans, and it was decided to place the building on the southeast corner of the college park adjacent to the playing fields.
Designed by a Rochester architect, J. Foster Warner, the gymnasium was built of gray brick, trimmed with light colored stone; three arches and an entrance porch formed the facade. As shown on diagrams printed in the 1900 Interpres, on the first floor there were a reception or trophy room, offices of the athletic director, and the main hall, ninety-four feet long, fifty-three feet wide, and twenty-five feet high; appliances for exercise conformed to those available in any well-equipped gymnasium of the time. On the second floor an elliptical running track with twenty-four laps to the mile could accommodate, when needed, spectators watching activities in the main hall below; toilet and dressing rooms, quarters for the Campus and student organizations, and a capacious well-lighted reading room were provided. Baths, a small tank for a quick plunge, a bicycle room, a bowling alley, a handball cage, lockers, a boiler room and bins to store coal occupied the basement. Building and equipment cost rather more than $28,000 of which contributions from some 300 alumni exceeded $16,000.
Formally opened in 1900, the Alumni Gymnasium stood for only a little more than thirty years, or just about as long as the agitation for it had been underway. Reversing the posture of President Anderson, Hill urged that dormitories should be provided, but instead a set of fraternity chapter houses, noted in the next chapter, was constructed.

© 2021 Morris A. Pierce