Curved Wide Flanges Welcome Visitors to Springfield College, The Home of Basketball

Curved wide flanged beams welcome visitors to Springfield, Massachusetts.  Anyone visiting this New England town will drive under W36x182 beams rolled hardway to a 92ft 2in wide inside radius.  Two pieces each with 35ft of arc were spliced to make a 70 foot long arch.

The accuracy and consistency of the curved pieces made the fabricator’s splice job easier.  “The roll was perfect.”

But even after blasting off the mill scale and painting the beams, the surface condition fell short of the architect’s expectations.  (Mills that produce steel beams do not have very strict surface finish requirements.)  After the gold lettering was applied to the front side, however, the imperfections were not noticeable.  Perhaps applying lettering to the back side would also mitigate any imperfections there too.

Wide Flange Beams Create a Welcoming Sign

As you may see, the arch reads as follows:

Welcome to Springfield College.  Birthplace of Basketball

In the winter of 1891-92, at each end of the gymnasium at Springfield College in Massachusetts, James Naismith nailed two peach baskets to the lower balcony rail which happened to be 10ft above the floor.  The second-year graduate student was charged by the head of physical education to create a fun game where a number of the school’s football and lacrosse players could safely exercise, off-season, indoors under artificial light.

James Naismith, Springfield College

After Naismith drew up thirteen rules, the game was played for a few years with a man stationed at each basket to retrieve the ball and put it in play again.  Later the bottoms of the peach baskets were cut to allow the ball to drop through.  The game of basketball quickly became wildly popular both in the United States and internationally.


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