McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Globe Refiners mural dedicated

  • About 40 spectators gathered at the corner of Kansas and Ash Tuesday to witness the dedication of the city’s newest mural’s.

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  • About 40 spectators gathered at the corner of Kansas and Ash Tuesday to witness the dedication of the city’s newest mural’s. Anne Hassler, director of McPherson’s Convention and Visitors Bureau, opened by thanking people who helped make the project possible, then introduced other speakers. Hassler was the brainchild behind the mural, devoting countless hours to see it to its completion.
    Mel Tarum, a retiree from NCRA, gave a history of the story behind the Globe Refiners of McPherson.
    “It’s been a long history, but one that has been of interest to the community,” he said.
    The mural honors a basketball team from McPherson that won the gold medal during the 1936 Berlin Olympics, the first year men’s basketball was considered an Olympic sport. Employees at Globe Oil and Refining Company in McPherson formed a basketball team in 1933. The Globe Oil and Refining Co. sold to NCRA in 1943. The team was billed as the world’s tallest basketball team and has been credited with creating the fast break and full-court press defense. The Globe Refiners won both the Missouri Valley league championship and the National Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) championship in 1936. The U.S. Olympic committee decided to hold a tournament in Madison Square Garden to select the first men’s basketball team to represent the U.S. at the Olympic games. The Globe Refiners team was beat by the Hollywood Universal Pictures team by a single point but members of the Globe Refiners team were named to the U.S. Olympic team.
    Joe Fortenberry, Francis C. Johnson, Jack W. Ragland, Williard T. Schmidt, William “Bill” Wheatley, John H. “Tex” Gibbons and team coach Gene Johnson were selected to play in Germany along with seven members of the Hollywood Universal Pictures team.
    The game had a “seven man team” rule at the time, so the Globe Refiners team and another team from Universal Pictures alternated games. The Globe Refiners defeated Canada 19-8 to win the gold medal. All games were played on an outdoor, clay and sand court and the championship game was won after a day of rain, which turned the court into a swamp.
    Tarum said the mural has a two-fold purpose: one, to bring attention to McPherson and two, to encourage people to visit the Globe Refiners mural in the McPherson Community Building.
    Naomi Ullum, an art professor at Central Christian College, spoke about her efforts in designing the mural.
    “As we began to learn the story of what was going on, it was easy to compile it,” she said.
    Ullum thanked numerous volunteers for their help in priming and moving the boards. She also recognized two Central Christian College art students in attendance, Hannah Litwiller and Marion Appiah, who helped paint the mural. A third student, Damik Sabatos, was not able to attend. McPherson Mayor Tom Brown was also on hand for the dedication.
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