PHOTO: The first golden age of girls basketball

 

March 8, 2024

Contributed photo

The 1931 Cromwell girls basketball team included, from left, Blanche Line, Laura Dumas, Edythe Kibert, Alice Gearns, Norma Jalonen, Eileen Maxner, Violet Palm, Mae Beseman, Gladys Dahl and Hulda Larson.

Our keeper of local history, Clarence Badger, shared this photo of the 1931 Cromwell girls basketball team. It included, from left, Blanche Line, Laura Dumas, Edythe Kibert, Alice Gearns, Norma Jalonen, Eileen Maxner, Violet Palm, Mae Beseman, Gladys Dahl and Hulda Larson. Badger is Beseman's son, and he said this talented team traveled in a tiny school bus to other schools in the area - Floodwood, McGregor and Carlton - and dominated.

"They beat the pants off of everybody," Badger said. "Years later, they said we don't want women playing basketball anymore."

According to the Minnesota State High School League, "nearly 350 Minnesota high schools fielded girls basketball teams between 1900 and 1940, mostly in small towns."

In 1938 the Minnesota Department of Education recommended that girls athletic programs be dropped. In 1939 the department reported that schools offering interscholastic competition for girls had declined from 92 in 1938-1939 to 38 in 1939-1940. "This represents a decided change for the better," the department reported.

In 1965 the Minnesota Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation recommended that the Minnesota State High School League undertake the administration of girls athletics. The league adopted bylaws to that effect in the spring of 1969.

What do you know about Cromwell girls basketball before the modern era? Share any stories to [email protected]. Don't do email? Call 218-878-9332 and leave a message. We'll call you back.

 
 

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