New Trier – The Last Night At Gates Gym

Gates Gym witnesses its final game.

As if the ghosts of teams past came out for one last game, players from Lake Zurich and New Trier high schools glide across the hardwood in a long exposure photo at New Trier High School’s Gates Gym in Winnetka, Illinois, on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021. Photo by Vincent David Johnson.

Built in 1928 the Gates Gymnasium at New Trier High School’s Winnetka campus witnessed its final game Thursday night December 16, 2021. The aging structure which has issues with asbestos and lead paint will be demolished in January of 2022 and a new modern athletic facility will replace it.

The sun sets on New Trier High School’s Gates Gymnasium in Winnetka, Illinois. The final two games were played there on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021. Photo by Vincent David Johnson.

Plans had originally been in place for the Trevians to face off against the boys & girls basketball teams from Evanston High School, New Trier’s oldest rival, but Covid issues forced Evanston to back out last minute. Thankfully Lincoln Park was able to step in for the girls’ game and Lake Zurich for the boys game.

The Lincoln Park and New Trier girls basketball teams warm up before playing the penultimate game at New Trier’s Gates Gymnasium in Winnetka, Illinois, on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021. Photo by Vincent David Johnson.
New Trier’s Jake Fiegen (23) goes up for a shot over Lake Zurich’s Jack Lau, in the last game at New Trier’s Gates Gymnasium in Winnetka, Illinois, on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021. Photo by Vincent David Johnson.

The gym held onto many of its original details. Ticket booths, water fountains, cast iron radiators, and wooden bench in the upper decks all put you in a place of nostalgia.

The metal supports holding up the hoops were original components of New Trier’s Gates Gymnasium in Winnetka, Illinois, on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021. Photo by Vincent David Johnson.
A side stairwell leading to New Trier’s Gates Gymnasium in Winnetka, Illinois, on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021. Photo by Vincent David Johnson.
Maybe the first piece of memorabilia hung in New Trier’s Gates Gymnasium in Winnetka, Illinois, on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021. Photo by Vincent David Johnson.
Wooden bleachers ran the length of the basketball court at New Trier’s Gates Gymnasium in Winnetka, Illinois. A narrow set of stairs on either side led to the upper seating and passages on either side would lead to bathrooms and the baseline upper deck, Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021. Photo by Vincent David Johnson.
The last game at New Trier’s Gates Gymnasium in Winnetka, Illinois, on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021. Photo by Vincent David Johnson.
The last game at New Trier’s Gates Gymnasium in Winnetka, Illinois, on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021. Photo by Vincent David Johnson.
The Trevians had a sizable lead in the final 4 minutes of the last game at New Trier’s Gates Gymnasium in Winnetka, Illinois, on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021. Photo by Vincent David Johnson.
The last game at New Trier’s Gates Gymnasium in Winnetka, Illinois, on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021. Featuring varsity high school basketball games between the Lions of Lincoln Park form Chicago on the girls side and the Bears of Lake Zurich on the boys side against the Trevians of New Trier. Photo by Vincent David Johnson.
“THREE!” The last game at New Trier’s Gates Gymnasium in Winnetka, Illinois, on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021. Featuring varsity high school basketball games between the Lions of Lincoln Park form Chicago on the girls side and the Bears of Lake Zurich on the boys side against the Trevians of New Trier. Photo by Vincent David Johnson.
Cutting down the nets after the last game at New Trier’s Gates Gymnasium in Winnetka, Illinois, on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021. Featuring varsity high school basketball games between the Lions of Lincoln Park form Chicago on the girls side and the Bears of Lake Zurich on the boys side against the Trevians of New Trier. Photo by Vincent David Johnson.
Cutting down the nets after the last game at New Trier’s Gates Gymnasium in Winnetka, Illinois, on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021. Featuring varsity high school basketball games between the Lions of Lincoln Park form Chicago on the girls side and the Bears of Lake Zurich on the boys side against the Trevians of New Trier. Photo by Vincent David Johnson.
A piece of history. The last game at New Trier’s Gates Gymnasium in Winnetka, Illinois, on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021. Featuring varsity high school basketball games between the Lions of Lincoln Park form Chicago on the girls side and the Bears of Lake Zurich on the boys side against the Trevians of New Trier. Photo by Vincent David Johnson.

From Trier to New Trier; Black Gate to Gates.

The school was named New Trier because quite a few of the people who moved into the area were from Trier, Germany. Trier was at one time a Roman city and quite a bit of its architecture remains, including the Porta Nigra, or Black Gate. The Black Gate was an entrance way to the city. I had the pleasure of traveling there in 2005. While the Gates Gym was named after American business man Leslie Gates, I can’t help but feel that the similarities between the exterior look of the gym and the gate in Trier were done on purpose. I can only image residents originally from Trier probably felt a little bit at home every time they walked into this gym.

As I looked around all night seeing lettermen jackets and name tags with “77”, “82”, or “04” on them, I wondered if the kids currently there were as sentimental about the old building. As I packed my cameras up three girls walked up and asked if it was too late to take their photo. They played basketball there and were really sentimental about the old gym. I took a photo with one of their phones and left the place happy knowing that even the kids understood what a special place it was.

Trier, Germany March 2005, the Black Gate (left). New Trier High School’s Gates Gym, 2021 (right) Photo copyright of Vincent David Johnson.

Old places have a soul

In a “I don’t want it to end” moment, Gates gym managed to get just a little extra game time in, as Lake Zurich’s Tyler Obsuszt was fouled on a three point attempt as time expired. As he hit the last two of his three free throws, he became the final person to score a basket at Gates gym.

Gates Gym at New Trier was just old, it was unique. Built in 1928 it had style even then.
Luckily Lake Zurich did not spoil the party for the last game at New Trier’s Gates Gymnasium, falling 79-41, but Tyler Obsuszt (44) will go into the history books as the last person to score a point there, as he watches his third of three free throws drop into the basket after being fouled as time expired, in Winnetka, Illinois, on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021. Photo by Vincent David Johnson.