The inauguration of WVU president John Roscoe Turner in 1928 was the first event to take place in WVU’s brand new Mountaineer Field House.

Opened in 1929, Mountaineer Field House came about due largely to the efforts of Harry Stansbury, WVU athletic director from 1916 to 1938 and a powerful force shaping the university’s athletic programs. He raised money to build Mountaineer Field in 1924, then lobbied the state Legislature for funds to complete the Field House. It was the most modern athletic arena in the region when it opened.

The Field House holds a special place in the hearts of thousands as the home floor for basketball greats Rodney Clark “Hot Rod” Hundley 1954–57, Jerry West 1957–60, and other stars of the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s. Mountaineer basketball was played here until the WVU Coliseum opened in 1970. WVU renamed the Field House Stansbury Hall in 1973, and it now houses philosophy, statistics, and the Army and Air Force ROTC.

photo by Julian Wyant

The Field House was sidelined in 1970. Now known as Stansbury Hall, it’s about to be retired permanently.

Stansbury Hall’s days appear to be numbered. It occupies a large plot of primest WVU real estate: just beside downtown and the downtown campus, at a stop on the PRT, with long river and Caperton rail-trail frontage. WVU is considering the site for a new Business and Economics building, possibly in combination with housing, retail, and a recreation center.

Then & Now is published in partnership with WVU Libraries’ West Virginia & Regional History Center. wvrhc.lib.wvu.edu

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