Burns seniors learn about 'cracker box' gyms

Burns Senior Citizens learned about high school gyms built before 1950 during the Aug. 10 meeting at Burns Community Center.

Following the potluck meal, 21 senior citizens listened to guest speaker Brian D. Stucky of Goessel give a mini-review of his book, "Hallowed Hardwood: Vintage Basketball Gyms of Kansas."

Stucky traveled throughout the state for six years to find gyms built before 1950, many of which were cracker-box gyms. He photographed them, trying to include a former coach or player.

Originally, there were 700 high schools in Kansas. Today, there are 302 districts, 25 private, and 11 state schools. Four hundred small towns in Kansas have lost their high schools.

Stucky included Burns in his book. He believed the Burns gym was the "smallest high school gym" he came across. He praised former player Brice Durbin calling him a "true gentleman." Durbin, a Topeka resident, attended the meeting.

Cassoday's Coach Pankratz is featured and the story of the "run-away" game told. A unique story about Cedar Point High School was interesting.

The Burns seniors will place the book in the Burns Library for the public to enjoy.

Meeting guests were Stucky and Durbin. Also attending were Gene Obee, Norma Martin, Minamae Bierman, Barb Stuhlsatz, James Olberding, Albert Gustainis, Linda Wimberly, Esther Nelson, Diane Nelson, Jandee Moore, Stanley and Karen Saner, Maude Gaines, LaVonne Ammeter, Don and Laverna Parrish, Herb Strotkamp, the Rev. Jim Bush, and Joyce Kyle.