Hoch Auditorium

Coordinates: 38°57′29″N 95°14′57″W / 38.95793°N 95.249265°W / 38.95793; -95.249265 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, Lou Reed, 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 & The Wailers as part of their Survival Tour. KU students and a packed house danced and swayed to the reggae beats, with the smell of marijuana swirling throughout the hall after Bob was introduced in a deep, thickly Jamaican-accented admonition, "Put out your cigarettes and light up your spliffs... Its gonna be a Rasta night in Kansas, man". Bob Marley died about a year and a half later.

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 the side of Hoch that faced Wescoe Hall, there was a fire escape that came all the way down to ground level from the balcony level of the auditorium. At the top of this fairly long fire escape, there was a landing and someone had chiseled "TS #9". This somewhat hidden spot was known by many KU students as "Toking Station #9". Until the night that Hoch burned down, if you saw some classmates on that fire escape, you could be pretty sure that they weren't studying for their next exams.

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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  • Matt Finholm
    Matt Finholm commented
    info listed is inaccurate. Hoch was dedicated in 1927. KU basketball used to play its games in the basement prior to the construction of Allen Fieldhouse (1954). the building was struck by lightning in 1990 and much of it was destroyed. The front facade and foyer are the original Hoch. the great of the building is new and very modern. renamed Budig hall which was completed in the late 1990s. Both the original Hoch and now Budig is where KU's largest lecture halls are.
    about 3 years ago via Mobile