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.
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 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.
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.
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.