Lone Star Adventure: Doug's Gym - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Lone Star Adventure: Doug's Gym

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Doug's Gym is a time capsule in downtown Dallas. Climb the stairs and you enter a world unchanged in decades.  Creaking wood floors -- pealing walls saturated with the sweat of a million workouts --papered with fading photographs of legendary strongmen -- before and after pictures -- provided by satisfied customers

It is the oldest gym in America -- operated by one man -- Doug Eidd. "This September it will be 50 years running the gym." Doug opened on Commerce Street in 1962. He was fresh out of the Army - trained as a physical therapist.

A year later, November 1963 Doug, literally, had a window on history, his gym overlooking downtown police headquarters. He'd seen President Kennedy in the motorcade and what happened after the assassination at the old police headquarters across the street.

"This whole place was covered with wires all the way around. Must have been a thousand reporters out there from all over."

Two days later, Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald and again Doug was at the gym.

"As soon as he was shot, Hell, it hit the radio because everybody had seen it on TV. Man I looked over there and you could see commotion, policeman running out and the next thing I know the ambulance carrying Oswald down."

Dallas grew, downtown changed but Doug and his gym never did. No air conditioning, no high tech machinery. To call it "Old School" is an understatement

"That's my favorite part, " said Roger Decker, one of the regulars. "It is 'Old School.'  No TVs. No nothing. You come in, you work out, you get it done."

Ron Vegovisch is a retired ATF agent and another regular. "Doug is the heart and soul of this place, obviously. You sign on and he works with you personally. You have a personal workout regimen as long as he thinks you need it."

It's the way Doug has always trained. At 82 he's a physical marvel. A living testimony. Doug has no explanation for the Gym's longevity - no timetable for how long it stays open.

"It blurs. Time just goes like that. It's just something that happens day by day. Like a machine. I get up in the morning. I go to work. I go home and I don't even think about it.

"Time just stands still here. It's just amazing."

It is.


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