Hoch Auditorium

Hoch Auditorium

Hoch Auditorium was a 3,500-seat multi-purpose arena in Lawrence, Kansas. It opened in 1927. It was home to the University of Kansas Jayhawks basketball teams until Allen Fieldhouse opened in 1955.

Many of Hoch's nicknames during the basketball years were "Horrible Hoch" and "The House of Horrors." Such nicknames were in reference to the difficulty opposing teams had in dealing with the tight area surrounding the court and the curved walls and decorative lattice work directly behind the backboards. The curvature of the walls made the backboards appear to be moving causing opponents to miss free throws.

In addition to being home to the KU Jayhawks, Hoch Auditorium played host to many events such as The University of Kansas' annual Rock Chalk Revue (a variety show now performed at the Lied Center that benefits the local United Way), comedian George Carlin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, R.E.M., the touring company of A Chorus Line, and the United States Marine Band. Another of Hoch's famous visitors was John F. Kennedy.

On December 6, 1979 Hoch Auditorium hosted Bob Marley as part of his Survival Tour. KU students and a packed house danced and swayed to the reggae beats, with the smell of marijuana swirling through the hall after Bob was introduced with a thickly Jamacian-accented admonition, "Put out your cigarettes and light up your spliffs... Its going to be a Rasta night in Kansas man".

The architecture of the building is traditional Gothic and was designed to act as a balance to KU's Watson Library situated at the opposite end of Jayhawk Boulevard.

On June 15, 1991, Hoch Auditorium was struck by lightning. The auditorium and stage area were completely destroyed. Only the limestone facade and lobby area were spared. When reconstruction of the building was complete, the rear half of the building was named Budig Hall, for then KU Chancellor Gene Budig. The name on the facade was altered to reflect the presence of three large auditorium-style lecture halls within the building: Hoch Auditoria.

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