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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Mount Hope's YMCA Building Sold to Board of Education in 1933

The Loop Creek District Young Men's Christian Association building on Main Street in Mount Hope served thousands of men and women, boys and girls during the 1920s through the 1930s. The dedication and formal opening of the "Y" took place on Wednesday evening, February 15, 1922.

An indoor swimming pool was in service in the building, with regular gymnasium classes held during the winter months and tennis, "big ball," and other games during the greater part of the year. As built, the building contained a boy's department, ladies' department, swimming pool, bowling alleys, pool room, a 60x80 gymnasium fully equipped with a stage and dressing rooms, and a seating capacity for 500 spectators; spacious lobby, 18 dormitory rooms, a banquet hall, a completely equipped kitchen, and lockers and locker rooms.

Loup Creek District Y.M.C.A>in Mount Hope, W.Va.

In 1933, the Fayette County Board of Education purchased the building for $9,000, from The New River Company.  The original cost of the structure was said to be $111,000.

The "Y" was purchased for use as a gymnasium, a less costly alternative to building a new structure for physical education. The YMCA building was ideally located next to the town's junior high and high school buildings.

Built as a high school in 1910, this building became the town's junior high building following the completion of a new high school building in 1925-1926. 

The former YMCA building was remodeled in 1939-1940 to include an auditorium, a hardwood gym floor (which replaced the swimming pool), dressing and shower rooms for home and visiting athletic teams, and a number of rooms for teaching, including a band room.  The newly renovated building was dedicated in 1941 with the playing of a basketball game between West Virginia University and West Virginia Wesleyan.

In 1936, work on the town's Municipal Stadium was completed, under then direction of George Siems.  The stadium was dedicated on November 7, 1936.

Mount Hope Municipal Stadium, completed in 1936

Prior to the building of the new stadium, games were played and other events held on McKell Field, which was located behind the High School Building.  The last football game played on McKell Field took place on Friday afternoon, November 9, 1934, when the Mt. Hope "Mustangs" played the Bluefield "Beavers". Mt. Hope won the game, 13-0. McKell Field was so named in honor of William McKell, president of McKell Coal & Coke Company, who gave the land for the field and a section of the land on which the high school building of 1925-1926 was erected.

The town's new high school building was constructed during 1925-1926 and just recently demolished. The school's nickname was changed from "Yellow Jackets" to "Mustangs" in 1931, the same year that the "Little Brown Jug" became a part of the Mt. Hope-Oak Hill football rivalry.

The high school building, built during 1925-1926
During 1933-1934, a stone wall was erected around the around the school property and grading and landscaping was performed under the supervision of T. H. Snyder, giving the school grounds a appearance similar to a small college campus. 


Photos from MountHopeWV.com photo gallery

"Dedication of 'Y'", The Raleigh Register (Beckley, West Virginia) · Tue, Feb 21, 1922

"Building Bought By School Board", The Charleston Daily Mail (Charleston, West Virginia) · Tue, Aug 22, 1933

"Mustangs Face Beavers Today", Beckley Post-Herald (Beckley, West Virginia) · Fri, Nov 9, 1934

"Mustangs Win From Beavers", Beckley Post-Herald (Beckley, West Virginia) · Sat, Nov 10, 1934 ·

"Mount Hope Will Dedicate Stadium", The Charleston Daily Mail (Charleston, West Virginia) · Sun, Nov 8, 1936

"Y.M.C.A. Bought For the Schools", The Raleigh Register (Beckley, West Virginia) · Sun, Sep 5, 1937

"Former Principals Contributed Much to the Expansion of Mount Hope High", Beckley Post-Herald The Raleigh Register (Beckley, West Virginia) · Sun, Nov 24, 1968

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