The History of Allen Fieldhouse

One of the crown jewels of Lawrence, Kansas, is the indoor arena known as the Allen Fieldhouse on the University of Kansas campus. It is one of college basketball’s most historically significant and prestigious buildings, often called one of the best places in America to watch a college basketball game.

Construction started in 1952, but stalled due to a federal mandate restricting steel consumption– this was right after World War II with the Korean War now the focus of America’s attention. Interestingly, university officials added some rooms for– get this– guns and weapons storage! So the fieldhouse was an “armory,” allowing for construction to continue– pretty clever, right? Meanwhile, over half a million bricks were used in the arena’s construction.

The Allen Fieldhouse made its debut in 1955 at a cost of $2.5 million. Over the years, a variety of athletes have used the facility for practices and games, including track, volleyball, football, softball, and, of course, basketball, for which it is best known.

Seating expansions and some modernizing of the facility took place in the 1980s and 1990s. Exterior and interior renovations helped clean up and improve the place around 2005, such that a new hardwood court, new windows and a very expensive video board/sound system were installed, followed by even more improvements during the rest of that decade.

In the state of Kansas, you won’t find another basketball arena that’s bigger, by the way. Seating capacity can handle some 16,300 people these days, making it the second largest arena in the Big 12 Conference behind Texas– well, their motto is “everything’s bigger in Texas,” so we’ll let them have that one…

The Kansas Jayhawks call the Allen Fieldhouse home, and players who visit from other colleges often note it’s the loudest atmosphere they’ve ever played in. Indeed, Jayhawks’ fans are passionate about the team and love to cheer them on.

Framewoods Gallery offers a great selection of Kansas University sports memorabilia, including Allen Fieldhouse pictures like this one: