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Indeed it did! After all, the “Old Red Gym” is formally called the Armory and Gymnasium, and what gymnasium would be complete without a pool? The building opened in 1894, and right away its pool — “a swimming tank, 80 by 20 feet” — was a highlight. It remained that way until the 1950s, at which point students and university officials alike thought the gym was far past its prime. When the Natatorium opened for university use in 1963, then-president Conrad Elvehjem PhD’27 was more than ready to ditch “that bath tub in the old red gym.” But the pool prevailed — becoming an unexpected point of political activism. Up until early 1973, the Red Gym’s pool was for men only. (Swimming nude was also encouraged, but we won’t get into that.) But after a group of female students forced their way into the tank that February (yes, they were nude), the university reevaluated the pool’s gender segregation. The Red Gym pool remained coed (swimsuits required) until the tank was drained during the 1990s. Today, the Red Gym is perhaps most notable as campus’ “cultural hub,” including the Multicultural Student Center, the Black Cultural Center, the Gender and Sexuality Campus Center, and International Student Services.

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