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Iowa History Daily: March 8 - Last Night at the Armory

Iowa History Daily: On March 8, 1971, Iowa State played the final men’s basketball game at the Armory. The pre-Hilton home of Iowa State basketball and wrestling, the Armory gained a reputation for providing the Cyclones with a strong home-court advantage.

Construction on the 150’ x 210’ multipurpose building in the northwestern portion of Iowa State’s campus started during 1920. Initially completed in 1921, but burned during the winter of 1922. Rebuilt over the following two years, the building hosted graduation ceremonies and over events across the next two decades. 

In 1946, the Cyclone basketball team made the move from State Gym to the 7,500 seat Armory for home games. When the Armory got rocking, like it did when Gary “The Roland Rocket” Thompson helped lead Iowa State past no. 1-ranked Kansas and Wilt Chamberlain, fans likened the deafening noise generated from stomping feet to occupying the inside of a beating drum. Built without locker rooms, the players dressed at State Guy before riding a city bus in full uniform to the facility.

Remodeled to push capacity to 8,500 in 1956, and the playing surface also shifted from east-west to north-south. Also the home to Iowa State wrestling, the building served faithfully until the completion of Hilton Coliseum during 1971. Today, the facility serves as classroom space, a home for ROTC programs, and the place of memories of those who once watched many classic Cyclone moments during the college’s early years. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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