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Philistine Field

Well…how about that Bell Game?

Woo hoo…doing a little victory dance here and waving our W flag!!!

In response to the previous posting mentioning Philistine Field, I had a suggestion from a reader that I share what we know about this name, so here goes….

The following are all passages from the book Wabash College, the First Hundred Years.

“The athletic field, in 1892, was still unfenced. When a game was played, the campus was the enclosure to which admission was charged. At every gate was a ticket taker. But the long lines of the campus fence could not be guarded. Only the respectable paid. The next fall, ’93, a high board fence was thrown around the field, an ugly thing, which as to serve, however, for many years with much replacing of boards burnt by fires starting from the Big Four train sparks or torn off by youthful fans devoid of the gate money. So vigorously was the fence protested by the nearby residents who had to look at it that it took from these objectors the name, “Philistine Field”, which it bore for ten years. For good or ill, the fence was the result of the enterprise and generosity of the Class of ’95, juniors when they built it. It was to be ready for the DePauw game, November 11, 1893, but when that day came only the posts and the stringers were in place. The boards had been delayed in shipment, and had just arrived in the lumber yard. In this emergency, the spirit of the pioneer barn raising came back to the college out of the past. Professors and students provided themselves with hammers, and working furiously through a sunny Saturday morning finished fence in time for the game. Even Dr. Tuttle worked.”  p. 191

The old wooden fence can be seen clearly in this photograph. A bit ramshackle indeed.This photograph comes from the Wabash Magazine of December of 1903.

Speaking of gifts to the college near the turn of the last century, “…then there was a gift of $1,000 from President M.E. Ingalls of the Big Four Railroad for the improvement of Philistine Field. It became Ingalls Field. …” p. 245

“The last of the hideous wooden fences about the athletic field which had for thirty years given offence to residents of the town whose campus view was spoiled, and had roused them to vehement protest, and so had caused the field itself to be known as Philistine Field – the last of the fences was torn down in 1923, and replaced by a high woven wire fence, trim and strong. The new fence enclosed  an enlarged area, reaching well to the east of the old one and north to the gymnasium. The new football field ran from south to north and there was ample room to the east of it for a practice field, and for the greater part of the baseball diamond to remain untorn by football. A new scheme of drainage was provided for the field, so successfully that it has become one of the best playing grounds in the state.”  p. 361

I love the story of getting that fence together the day of the DePauw game and that even old Dr. Tuttle worked!

Best,

Beth Swift