First Milan, Indiana 1954 State Champs Water Tower Bobble Unveiled
MILWAUKEE – This morning, the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum in conjunction with the Milan ’54 Museum, unveiled the first bobble of the historic Milan Water Tower in Milan, Indiana. The bobble, which also features a replica of the 1954 State Championship Trophy, honors the high school’s historic 1954 State Basketball Championship.
The limited-edition bobble is being released to celebrate the anniversary of the title, which was on March 20, 1954, as well as the 113th Indiana High School Athletic Association Boys State Basketball Tournament. One of the oldest state high school basketball tournaments in the U.S., the tournament will hold its State Finals in four classes on Saturday, March 25th at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each bobble benefit the Milan ’54 Museum in Milan, Indiana.
The bobble features a replica of the Milan Water Tower along with a replica of the 1954 state championship basketball trophy positioned on a circular base. Painted black with white lettering, the water tower reads “STATE CHAMPS 1954,” and the top part of the water tower bobbles. The bobbles are only available through the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum’s Online Store and the Milan ’54 Museum. The bobbles, which just arrived and ship now, are $30 each plus a flat-rate shipping charge of $8 per order. The bobbles are also available for purchase in person at the Milan ’54 Museum, which is located at 201 W. Carr St. in Milan. They are open Wednesday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm.
In 2019, the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum unveiled a limited-edition series of bobbleheads commemorating the 1954 Milan state championship team that inspired the movie “Hoosiers.” Celebrating the 65th anniversary of the improbable state title, the series features all 12 of the team’s players holding a replica championship trophy and commemorative basketball. A limited number of bobbleheads featuring the players are still available through the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum and Milan ’54 Museum for $25 each or $250 for a complete set.
Constructed in 1924 and located just outside of Milan’s downtown district, the most famous water tower in Indiana has proclaimed Milan’s improbable high school boys basketball state championship since the mid-1950s. Built next to the Milan Furniture Company, in case the business ever caught fire, the water tower was painted black with white lettering reading “STATE CHAMPS 1954” to honor the state championship won by the Milan Indians, otherwise known as the Milan Miracle of 1954. In 2018, the water tower, which was acquired by the town seven years earlier, received a much-needed facelift thanks to a $30,000 grant. Restoration efforts were launched by the town and the Milan ’54 Hoosiers Museum. Prior to the most recent rejuvenation, the water tower was last painted in 1969. In addition to the new paint job, the tower is now lighted nightly.
Milan High School, with an enrollment of only 161, defeated powerhouse Muncie Central High School, which had an enrollment of 1,662, by a score of 32-30 in the state championship game at Butler University’s Butler Fieldhouse (now Hinkle Fieldhouse). With the game tied at 30, the team’s leader, Bobby Plump, hit a 14-footer from the right side as time expired to win the championship and deny the Bearcats a fifth state title. Forty thousand people descended on Milan, which had a popular of only 1,150, the following day as the team returned home from Indianapolis, lining State Road 101 for 13 miles to congratulate the Indians. Milan is the smallest school to win a single-class state basketball title in Indiana and finished the season with a 19-2 regular season record and 28–2 overall record.
The Milan 54 Hoosiers Museum said, "The player bobbleheads have been a great success and a fun item for our players and supporters, so we are excited to add the iconic Water Tower Bobblehead to our collection. The tower was painted immediately following the 1954 win, and for many, it has stood as a beacon for nearly 70 years. To those of us who have grown up in Milan, the Water Tower has been a symbol of HOME. No matter where we go, as we return to Milan and see the Water Tower welcoming us to town, we know we are home. We are proud to be able to share it with all in such a fun way."
"The incredible story of Milan’s improbable state title is known by millions of people across the globe, and this new bobble is a great way to celebrate the remarkable feat,” National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum co-founder and CEO Phil Sklar said. “The iconic Milan Water Tower is a great celebration of the 1954 title and a reminder that anything is possible. We think fans will enjoy having a replica bobble version of the water tower to show off.”
About the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum:
The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, which is located at 170 S. 1st St. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, opened to the public on February 1st, 2019. The HOF and Museum also produces high quality, customized bobbleheads for retail sale as well as organizations, individuals, and teams across the country. Visit us online and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About the Milan 54 Hoosiers Museum:
The Milan '54 Hoosiers Museum is located on West Carr Street in the quiet rural town of Milan, IN. It houses memorabilia from the 1954 championship game between Milan and Muncie Central...a David and Goliath story. It also has a large collection of artifacts from the movie HOOSIERS on display. The museum strives to keep our local history alive and to capture a bit of Hoosier Hysteria. Please come visit and find out more at www.milan54.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Milan 54 Hoosier Museum can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.