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Chuck B.

Why A Building Means A Lot to Football History

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A year ago, Princeton thought it was doing a favor in moving the Fields Center and Community House[URL=""] to a brand-new building[/URL]:

[QUOTE]The new facility will enable the Fields Center to augment its educational and social programs, which focus on its priority areas of empowerment, understanding, social justice and leadership.

"Our goal is to provide a supportive environment outside of the classroom to help students become effective world leaders by learning about themselves and those who may be different from them," Clay said.

The center also will take advantage of its new gallery space to promote art that draws attention to social injustice, history and cultural awareness. Its proposed inaugural exhibit will feature work by Chicago artist and scholar Nnenna Okore that will highlight socio-economic disparities, sustainable development and environmental conservation in West Africa.[/QUOTE]

It sounds like a slam-dunk for the folks at Princeton: except for the inconvenient fact that the building they vacated and planned to demolish, 86 Olden Street, [URL=""]has a unique football history[/URL]:

[QUOTE]The fate of 86 Olden St. — the former site of the Carl A. Fields Center for Equality and Understanding — has recently become the subject of concern for some alumni who fear that the University will demolish the 19th-century building to make way for the future Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment.

Some are worried that the historic value of the former Osborn Clubhouse and Third World Center, which was renamed the Fields Center in 2002, will be lost if demolition plans go ahead.

Built in 1892 as the Osborn Clubhouse, the space was used for nearly 80 years as the home to the Princeton football team in what Maynard called the “golden age of Princeton intercollegiate sport.”

Maynard also noted the building’s historical significance, explaining that it “played an important role in the historic desegregation of the Ivy League.”

Future generations would want to visit a preserved 86 Olden St. to “see where Michelle Obama [’85] spent time on the campus [and] to see how the University was integrated,” he said.[/QUOTE]

I'm not sure of it's role in desegregation - though New Jersey was one of the first states to pass a law to desegregate their public school districts, seven years before Brown vs. Board of education - but the Osborn Clubhouse was where Princeton's national champions would have lived and trained, and also acted as a locker room for visiting teams as well. It seems like a shame that such an important piece of football history might be facing the wrecking ball.

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