Thursday, March 7, 2013

Chalon athletic field

Mark Daniels' master plan for the Mount in the late 1920s
incorporated a playing field just above Chalon Road.
THE SUBJECT OF SPORTS at the Mount comes up frequently, among other reasons because it is an obvious draw for high school seniors hunting for a college. Both campuses face limits on space, of course -- Doheny because it is surrounded by Downtown Los Angeles, and Chalon because it sits on a mountain.

The original master plan for the College, drawn up in 1927-28 by architect Mark Daniels, included a number of open spaces in spite of the limited amount of flat ground. A sketch of the plan, above, shows a large, round athletic field on the lowest piece of real estate on campus just off of Chalon Road.

Tillie Clem '37 fences
in the Circle in the '30s
Like much of the original plan it wasn't built, as expenses were drastically cut during the Great Depression  and Chalon's challenging terrain presented unforeseen difficulties. Twenty-five years later the CSJs broke ground for their House of Studies on the site of the proposed field.

That didn't mean that athletics weren't an important part of student life, however. For one thing, two years of physical education was a requirement for most college students until the 1970s. The Mount also offered Phys Ed as a major subject off and on until the 1960s. Archery and fencing were popular sports in the 1930s (and didn't require a lot of space), and after the pool went in in 1949 the college fronted competitive water ballet and swim teams. And there were plenty of other sports. The 1959-60 catalog lists the following lower-division P.E. activities: horseback riding, archery, dance, badminton, swimming, basketball, lifesaving/water safety, body mechanics, tennis, bowling, volleyball and golf.

In spite of its lack of a big gymnasium and other athletic facilities, Mount students had plenty of opportunities for sports. Maybe all it took was the willingness and interest by students to get involved. And those old state requirements sure didn't hurt!

Mount archers in their P.E. bloomers prepare to let fly. The location,
ca. 1936, is looking east, probably near where Rossiter Hall is now. 

No comments:

Post a Comment