The original Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame was constructed on the Springfield College Campus due to the college’s deep connection to the sport of basketball; from Dr. James Naismith, who invented the game while he was a faculty member at the school in 1891; to Dr. Edward Hickox, the driving force behind the Hall’s creation; and the innumerable members of the faculty who have sat on national rules committee.
The Basketball Hall of Fame had a difficult beginning, taking nine years to build due to the difficulties of procuring funds. Ground breaking for the Hall occurred in September 1959, but it did not open to the public until February 18, 1968. The total estimated cost of the building was put at $1,156,400. In 1963 only $195,000 had been raised but just over a year later $251,749.11 was contributed by the Greater Springfield Area and the building began to get back on track.
In 1959 when the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame construction began the first group of players, coaches, and contributors to the sport were inducted into the Hall of Fame. This first group of inductees included five with ties to Springfield College; Dr. James Naismith, Amos Alonzo Stagg, Luther H. Gulick, Edward J. Hickox, and Naismith’s First Team from Springfield College, then known as the International YMCA Training School. By the time the Hall of Fame opened in 1968 it already had 43 inductees. When the Hall of Fame first opened to the public in 1968 it had over 1000 visitors on the first day and just over a year later it had had a total of 16,500 visitors. With the ever-growing popularity of the sport of basketball, inductees into the Hall of Fame, and visitors, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame began to outgrow its Springfield College home. In 1985 the Hall of Fame opened in a new location in Springfield and the original Hall of Fame building ownership was transferred to Springfield College. Renovations on the building began in 1987 and the building was rededicated as the Allied Health Sciences Center in April of 1989.
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