OTD: Grand opening of Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

On today’s date in 1968, the first building that housed the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, which honours basketball’s inventor James Naismith, opened its doors to the public at Springfield College in Massachusetts.

That was less than a month after the National Basketball Association played its 18th All-Star Game.

This year, the Hall of Fame celebrates its 50th anniversary. Established in 1959 by Lee Williams, a former athletic director at Colby College, the Hall of Fame initially struggled to raise enough funds for the construction of its first facility.

In 1985, the Hall of Fame was relocated to an $11-million facility beside Springfield’s Connecticut River.

More recently, in 2002, the Basketball Hall of Fame moved again, this time into a $47-million facility designed by renowned architects Gwathmey Siegel and Associates.

1991 NAISMITH STAMP

In 1991, Naismith and the 100th anniversary of the game of basketball were commemorated on a 40-cent stamp (Scott #1344) issued by Canada Post. The stamp, featured in the Basketball issue, came in souvenir sheets of 40-, 46-, and 80-cent stamps as well as another sheet of 40-cent stamps.

In 1959, Naismith was voted into the Hall of Fame bearing his name. In 1978, he was inducted into the Canadian Hall of Fame in his home town of Almonte, Ont.

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