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Seeking tales from the old Paly gym

Original post made on Feb 24, 2014

The Palo Alto Weekly is preparing a retrospective on Palo Alto High School's 85-year-old gym, slated for demolition this year to make way for a new athletic center. We're collecting memories of the gym, from significant basketball games to first-date dances to quirky traditions and anything in between.

Please post your memories here, and they will be compiled as part of the story.

Comments (18)

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Posted by Liz Smith Currie
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 25, 2014 at 7:42 pm

I attended Paly in the 1980's. I would have attended Gunn, but moved across town. I was new to school and knew only a few students from summer in Children's Theater. My very first impression of Paly was standing in front of the gym to register. There were long lines, but beautiful weather and friendly people. We had most of our dances in the gym, too. As I recall, the last dance was usually Stairway to Heaven or something like that and the lights would slowly turn on, getting brighter. That was a very quick way to kill the mood.


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Posted by the truth
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Feb 26, 2014 at 12:55 pm

watching my boy peter dipenbrock coach and yelling "WHAT ARE YOU DOOOOOOOOOOING!" OR "GET ON THE GROUND" or my favorite "VERYYYYYYYYYYYYYY NIIIIIIIIIIIICE!!! BRRRRRRRRRRRRRA


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Posted by the truth
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Feb 26, 2014 at 1:46 pm

Diepenbrock: "GET IN HIM!!!!!!" BRAAAAAAA!!!


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Posted by Becky Brewer
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 26, 2014 at 3:07 pm

We have many fond memories of the Paly Gym but the one that will be with us forever will be the memorial service for our son, Travis Brewer. He loved everything about Paly sports. It meant so much to our family that we could celebrate his life at the gym with all of the people that he loved and loved him. Thank you, The Brewer Family


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Posted by Class of '99
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 26, 2014 at 3:18 pm

Personally, I can't to this day forget the stench of mold mixed with stale sweat.


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Posted by Herman
a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2014 at 8:43 am

How about Oregon's Senior Senator Ron Wyden and the late Charlie Johnson (NBA and Cal star) of Sequoia's epic back and forth battle in the let 60's - packed house, league title, scoring championship. One of the greatest Bay Area high school games!


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Posted by Old SPAL
a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2014 at 9:45 am

It's fitting in what will probably be the final basketball game in the Paly Gym will feature two teams who played in the gym when it first opened as Paly will host Sequoia tonight in the CCS Playoffs.


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Posted by DAVID ZEISLER
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 27, 2014 at 1:59 pm

I HAVE DONE THE SHOTCLOCK FOR MORE THAN 10 YEARS IN THE GYM. I DID THE SHOTCLOCK FOR JEREMY LIN AND THE 20005-06 BOYS BASKETBALL STATE TITLE TEAM. I HAVE WORKED IN THE GYM FOR MORE THAN 10 YEARS. I WILL MISS THE GYM A LOT. I ALSO WENT TO PALY.


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Posted by Sherry Bijan
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 27, 2014 at 2:02 pm

I always feared this day would come. Nursing the same sick feeling as when the Stanford stadium came down. The sentimental in me wishes we could somehow save the shell, the wooden bleachers, and the original hardwood floors and build around it. Suppose though in the end, its demise aligns with Earl's retirement, and alas a new chapter @ Paly begins.


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 27, 2014 at 2:10 pm

The reality is that the old gym needs so much retrofitting (infrastructure, earthquake, etc.) that the costs are just too high compared to what can be built new.


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Posted by Holly Smith
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 4, 2014 at 12:52 am

I was a choir person, not a sports person. I was in charge of the Winter Dance in 1976. We decorated the gym and it looked lovely. Sorry to see it go.


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Posted by pedro
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 7, 2014 at 2:14 pm

The Weekly should get a cliche checker. Works like spellcheck but it detects worn out phrases like "end of an era."


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Posted by enough!
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 7, 2014 at 2:40 pm

I think it stinks that yet another building that is unique and special to the community is being destroyed instead of enhanced and protected. I hate the generic quality of Palo Alto these days. Ostentatious shows of wealth are the norm now. Who cares about the history and character of this building? So much being destroyed. Like the gorgeous California Craftsman on Churchill that was hollowed out to be made into a GARAGE. That home had been well cared for, had beautiful aspects right down to the parquet floor. Change, when it makes our identity generic, isn't always good. Maybe they should have put in solar paneled parking structures before wasting money on the gym. That is actually useful.


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Posted by wow
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 7, 2014 at 7:37 pm

A couple of memories...

I graduated in 1972 and played basketball in the old gym (Clem Wiser and Ken White were the coaches back then with Jon White one of our star players). We had those gut-wrenching "line drills" where you sprinted back-and-forth between the baselines and the free-throw and mid-court lines. Many of us thought that the puke-green colors of the gym came from the after-effects of these line drills...

Mark Soltau and Tom Stienstra were also on the team and in a bizarre look-back, all three of us ended up working in the media/newspaper profession (I was the only one who couldn't make the grade in an editorial capacity).

During my first year as a sophomore (don't meant to suggest that I was a sophomore more than one year but remember back then Paly was a three-year school and did not have a freshmen class), the KEY club (Kiwanis Educates Youth) sponsored a 24-hour marathon basketball game fund-raiser. We had an announcer and several of us spent the night in those famed bleachers. As daybreak came, I remember waking up to hear the announcer playing the son g "Here Comes The Sun" over the loudspeaker.

Gonna miss that gym but not the line drills...


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Posted by telling it how it is
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 8, 2014 at 12:10 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Alphonso
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Mar 8, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Alphonso is a registered user.

I visited that gym once back in 1967 and had a great time. After attempting but failing to sneak into the Stanford/UCLA basketball game (Lew Alcindor's first year) we headed to Paly to watch the two top teams of the PAL - Paly and Sequoia. Actually it was a game featuring a very good and big Paly team versus the best player in the league - Charles Johnson. The place was rocking - full of Paly and Sequoia fans along with a few of us from Gunn. Regulation ended in a tie and in overtime Paly outscored Johnson 10-8, so Paly won the game. That was the best high school basketball games I ever watched.


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Posted by Roderic Green
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 10, 2014 at 4:56 am

I spent one year at Paly (80) after Cubberley closed. I have fond memories of basketball games in the gym, dances and our team locker rooms, It will be missed,


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Posted by Tom Sullivan
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 31, 2014 at 8:02 am

I only went in the gym when it was raining outside, but it was a classic old school gym


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