Hinkle Field House, formerly Butler Field House, 1928

West 49th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46208

Architect/Designer: Fermor Spencer Cannon (Original), RATIO Architect (rehabilitation)


Hinkle Field House is a brick and steel structure, the main façade is along the south wall where the entry gates are located. The brick walls are two along the south and north façades and to three stories along the arched east and west façades. The facade is divided vertically into several bays by decorative buttresses with pointed stone buttress caps that project slightly above the parapet level. Hinkle Field House is a striking athletic stadium that has brought sophistication to an often overlooked genre of structures.

Significance Statement – including special status and awards won:

Hinkle Field House brought statewide and national attention to Butler University and to Indiana basketball, becoming the home of the state championship game until the 1990s. The architecture of the Butler Field House features major innovations in technology and design, and shaped gym design for decades to come.  Its seating capacity of over 15,000 was unprecedented. Fermor Spencer Cannon, the architect, was a successful Indianapolis architect in the early 20th century and a founding member of the Indiana Society of Architects. In 2014 an extensive restoration was undertaken to restore the field house to its original stature, lead by RATIO Architects. The restoration included masonry repair, window repair and uncovering the massive truss system that gives the field house its signature barrel vaulted ceiling. The restoration won Indiana Landmark’s annual Cook Cup for Outstanding Restoration. The Field House is now considered one of the best-preserved early basketball venues in the United States.

Designation status:

National Register of Historic Places, 1983

National Historic Landmark, 1987

Style: Athletic Stadium

Owner (past/present): Butler University

Materials: Brick, Steel

Additions and/or changes with date: Renovations in 1989 and 2014

Historic use/current use: Athletic stadium

Is building open to the public?: Open to public during games

Condition: Excellent

Website and/or sources of information:

Website: http://www.butlersports.com/information/facilities/hinkle_fieldhouse

Research Sources:

National Register of Historic Places, Butler Fieldhouse, Marion, Indianapolis, Indiana. 1983

National Park Service. “Butler Fieldhouse.” Accessed October 27, 2015. http://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/indianapolis/butlerfieldhouse.htm


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