Dayton sports nostalgia: 4 venues that stir fond memories of big events

The recent death of a former owner of the Dayton Speedway brought back nostalgia and memories for the longtime Dayton racing track.

Here are four historic sports facilities that Daytonians fondly remember.

The University of Dayton Fieldhouse

On April 4, 1949, the University of Dayton received authorization to begin construction on what is now known as the Frericks Center. The 33,220-square-foot fieldhouse would eventually have 4,200 permanent seats with a maximum capacity of 6,000 and would be located between the then Albert Emanuel Library and Baujan Field. The construction of the fieldhouse was projected to cost around $600,000.

» RELATED: When the University of Dayton opened its first football stadium

Credit: Dayton Daily News File Photo

Credit: Dayton Daily News File Photo

“You only build a fieldhouse once, so you have to build carefully”, Athletic Director Harry Baujan commented on the planning that goes into such a project in a 1949 edition of the University of Dayton Alumnus magazine.

Dayton’s basketball team used to play in this building before moving to the UD Arena when it was built in 1969.

“This should go a long way toward improving our intercollegiate basketball program,” Baujan said at the time. “It will make it possible for us to book games with larger schools, and should give us a par with any school in this section of the country.”

The school continues to use the fieldhouse for physical education, intramural sports and free play, although the basketball team no longer plays there. It is still the home for the Flyers volleyball team.

Credit: Dayton Daily News File Photo

Credit: Dayton Daily News File Photo

Wright State James A. Rhodes Physical Education Building

Before the Wright State basketball team played at the Erwin J. Nutter Center, they held their games in the gym at the former Wright State P.E. building.

Completed in 1973, the James A. Rhodes Physical Education Building was located where the Wright State Student Union now sits. Commonly referred to as the Wright State P.E. building, this property was part of the initial student complex consisting of the student center, Hamilton Hall, sports and physical education.

The building was demolished when Wright State built the new $13 million student union in 1993. By this time the basketball team called the Nutter Center home, as it was built in 1990.

Credit: Dayton Daily News Archive

Credit: Dayton Daily News Archive

Hara Arena

Construction on the 5,500-seat, multi-purpose complex began in 1963 and was completed in 1964. Throughout the 52 years this arena was open, it hosted a slew of events including concerts, games, craft show and countless community events.

Hara closed its doors in August 2016, and parts of the arena were auctioned. Some notable celebrities who graced this complex include Wayne Gretzky, who made his debut on the ice, The Rolling Stones and Cheap Trick.



Dayton Speedway

The Dayton Speedway ran its first race in 1934, and through the years it hosted races for NASCAR, ARCA, and, AAA. The raceway, which once brought crowds of 10,000, had a long history in Dayton and produced many acclaimed drivers.

» RELATED: Dayton Speedway: After owner's death, remembering the long-time auto racing track

In 1982, the raceway was shut down permanently, and it has since been turned into a landfill. Steve Rauch Inc. now resides at the location of the former speedway.

Credit: Skip Peterson

Credit: Skip Peterson

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