Allen Fieldhouse’s Original Track Carpets Cover 19th Century Douglas County Home with Basketball Tradition – The Lawrence Times

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Every Jayhawk fan has a keepsake or piece of memorabilia that they consider to be extra special. For Diane and James Carnell, a unique piece of Jayhawk history stretches across their rural home in Douglas County.

Carnell’s crimson and blue, glossy hardwood floors have a unique history. It covered the original course of the famous Allen Fieldhouse basketball powerhouse from its opening in 1955 to 1974.

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Ergo, some famous athletes’ feet have adorned that hardwood, including those from KU’s first black basketball player, LaVannes Squires, and of course the Hall of Famer and the two-time NBA champion Wilt Chamberlain.

And, Diane points out, Forrest “Phog” Allen would have trained the Jayhawks on just that hardwood.

James said that when they bought the house in 2005, they learned that it originally served as a Dutch barn. The couple’s kitchen was once a milking parlor. A previous owner renovated the site in the 1970s and acquired almost the entire floor of the field house. Finally, the owner added the honey-colored planks to the upstairs and downstairs of the home.

“Our understanding is that we have about two-thirds of the original floor, which was styled for the floor of the Hoch Auditorium, where KU used to play. And the design of it was made to match,” James said.

Carnells said, outside their home, most of the original hardwoods’ remaining tiles appear in a local home and at the Allen Fieldhouse, where fans can see the original “K” from center court.

James and Diane were not born gloomy University of Kansas fans. After a job opportunity, the family emigrated from England to the United States in 1997. The Carnell family has since retired, but has had long careers as a food technologist in research and development.

“We’re from England. We do not do basketball,” laughed James. Diane remembered how fascinated they were by the home the first time they saw it.

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“You go in and say ‘Wow.’ Not only because of the floor, but the remodeling of the barn has been so beautifully done that we thought, ‘Yes, the floor is amazing, but the house is amazing in itself,'” he said. Diane.

Before the couple arrived in Sunflower State, they had not even heard of a Jayhawk; however, they have since grown into their KU fandom. The pair on Sunday afternoon expressed hope for the Jayhawks’ chances of winning it all this year.

Unfortunately, their rural location and the game’s absence from network TV pose a bit of a challenge. Without broadband in the country or a satellite dish, they will likely watch the championship game on Monday on their small phone screens, as they did during the Jayhawks’ victory in the semifinals on Saturday night.

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Tricia Masenthin (she / she), stock reporter, can be contacted at tmasenthin (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more about her work for the Times here. Watch her employee’s bio here.

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Brian McClendon / Contributed image

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As the KU men’s basketball team prepares to compete in Monday night’s national championship game, many Jayhawks have flocked to New Orleans to show their support.

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Every Jayhawk fan has a keepsake or piece of memorabilia that they consider to be extra special. For Diane and James Carnell, a unique piece of Jayhawk history spans their rural home in Douglas County.

Christina Craig / The Lawrence Times

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What you need to know before KU’s fight against UNC for the national championship: Street barriers, parking info, see party places and more


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“The winning team will probably be the most connected, play the hardest and get a hot shot. Both have done a fantastic job with it in the tournament, otherwise they would not play for the national title,” writes Tom Keegan in this klumme.

Cuyler Dunn / The Lawrence Times

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We asked KU fans who were out shopping equipment in downtown Lawrence on Sunday about their plans for the big game, what they think of the atmosphere in Lawrence when the Jayhawks win, and what superstition they have on game days. Here’s what they had to say.

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