Historic Floorboards from University of Maryland Looking for a Second Chance

There it sits in a Baltimore nonprofit warehouse, in pieces stacked side-to-side along a wall like Scrabble letters waiting to be placed on the game board. When the letters are interlocked and spread out as they were 60-plus years ago, they’re as tall as a shooting guard, and 75 feet wide.

Baltimore’s Second Chance, the nonprofit that offers reclaimed and renewed items and materials for sale, has the iconic “MARYLAND” lettering from the endlines of the University of Maryland basketball court from 1955 when Cole Field House opened.

Cole Field House, or more formally the William P. Cole Jr. Student Activities Building, was the University of Maryland’s home for basketball for 47 years.

Cari Clemens, direction of donations and acquisitions has been with Second Chance for eight years. She said a few years ago she got a call from a representative of the owner of the wood.

“The shorter boards were signed by players or coaches and sold at quite a premium,” Clemens said.

But other pallets were in storage, wrapped in plastic and a coating of dust. They hadn’t been pieced back together since they were dismantled from the floor of Cole Field House. It wasn’t clear what they were.

“At best, I thought this was an interesting story,” Clemens said. “Why not?”

So after acquiring the pallets and keeping them in their own storage facility, the staff at Second Chance turned to some volunteers to re-assemble the wood to see if all the red-faced pieces came together to form what they thought they might.

With the help of volunteers from the staff at Under Armour, that suspicion was confirmed about a year ago — they had the end zone flooring from both ends of the Terrapins’ home court.

The asking price for the flooring is $150,000.

This post is an excerpt from Sitting in a Baltimore nonprofit showroom: iconic ‘Maryland’ floor boards from Cole Field House, written by Sean Welsh and was originally published on December 29, 2017 on The Baltimore Sun.

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