This page by Randy Jansure
Memories of the old Union Hall
Anyone who played basketball in Nanty Glo during the '60's and '70's will remember the old Miners Hall.
I went to Saint Mary's School and we used the the Miners Hall to practice and we played our games at Bishop Carroll High School. I also remember going to watch high school and community league games there. The Hall in those days was actually quite nice; it even had locker rooms and showers in the basement. Although most of you might remember it in its last stages when, if you ventured into the basement, you might not be heard or seen from again.
Before it was torn down it pretty much became a condemned eyesore badly in need of repair. I'm not quite sure when it was demolished, as I no longer live in Nanty Glo, but I can remember coming home to visit and seeing an empty lot where the building once stood. It was quite sad. I always kinda hoped someone would buy the old building and restore it, but I knew that probably would never happen.
The things I remember about the Hall are entering from either the front or side you had to climb what seemed like a large flight of stairs with brass fire extinguishers hanging on the walls. You would then make your way up to the entrance of the basketball court, which was on the second floor. When you entered, you immediately got a feeling of closeness, because that's what it was: close. The bleachers were a couple a feet from the out-of-bounds lines, and the team benches were on the other side of the court, and were even closer to the court. And any one who has played there and has been shoved into the bleachers or walls will know what I'm talking about. I'm surprised no one from the teams benches ever stuck their foot out to trip an opposing player headed for a fastbreakor maybe they did a time or two.
The basket goals were also quite interesting. One of the goals was suspended from the ceiling, like today's goals are, on boards, and had a stage area in back of it. What I can remember is that there really was no out-of-bounds. All you had was the distance of a three-inch black line on the floor, and then the stage wall, another "Bruise Brothers" area.
During the games it was not uncommon to have someone climb up the wall of the stage area to retrieve the ball that had gone back there after a missed shot or bad pass. The second goaland this is is only way I have ever seen itwas a wooden bank board built out from the wall, and I still swear to this day it was a half-inch lower because it was easier to dunk on. It also had almost zero out-of-bounds; maybe a half a foot between the court and the wall. Does anyone older than I am rememberwas there ever another type of basket there? Did the old one fall off? Or was that the way it always was?
The last thing I remember about the place was the score clock. It actually looked like a clock, and the face of it turned red when there was less than a minute left in each quarter. And the buzzer on it kinda sounded like a duck stuck in a foghorn. Does anybody have that clock now? I always wanted to buy it. It would have made a fantastic centerpiece for a basement bar. I hope it wasn't demolished with the building.
As the years went by, the building changed ownership hands quite a few times and the building was never repaired. During my high school years I can remember being able to rent the Hall out for a dollar a man, as long as you had ten people to play, which was never a problem. But my best remembrance of the Miners Hall is that it was just a great place to play basketball and hang out with friends. And on any given night, if you saw the upstairs lights on you knew we were up there playing ball.
And some say at midnight if you stand in front of the lot where the old Miners Hall used to be, you can still hear the horn sounding and the bouncing of the basketballs....
© Jon Kennedy 1998