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A time between the wars at Wabash

For this post I would like to share just a great set of snapshots of campus life taken by Robert M. Schaller [W1942], a Lambda Chi brother. The photos were taken during the years of 1938-1942.

The first one above is such a treat, look at those great cars!

Here is another of the east side of Center. Keen eyes might note that the Milligan Clock no longer sits in that space. The Thomson Bench [called by most the Senior Bench] is still right where it has always been. Center Hall is timeless.

This is the sidewalk from Yandes [now Detchon] to Center Hall. The stairs we see at right are to Peck Hall, replaced by Waugh Hall, replaced by Hays Hall. I especially like the perspective in this snapshot.

This picture was taken on September 17, 1938. All Wabash men will understand this image. This is Chapel Sing for the class of 1942.

Here is another angle of the same event. It looks like the photographer is taking a picture of a part of the new class as other freshmen observe.

Speaking of freshmen – here is their contribution to the tradition of a homecoming fire. Freshmen were sent out into town to collect just any old thing that might burn. Often, they took things, boards, scrap lumber, etc. that they were not given. Including, annually, someone’s outhouse. This was often the crowning glory of the freshman fire. And, lest we suppose they were marauding hooligans with no consequences – each fall the town would tender a bill for the missing property. The students would then pony up the cash and all was forgiven.

This great picture gives us a “typical student” at his studies. This young man is Jack Chase, Wabash class of 1942. This picture was taken in 1940 at the Lambda Chi house where Jack was also a brother.

And here is a picture of the Lambda Chi house in the late 1930s. A few less trees now, but the same beloved façade. Interestingly, this is also a picture of the “new” house which was acquired by the fraternity in 1936.

And here is the house all decorated for Homecoming of 1939. At the far right of the picture is an outhouse with a sign which says, “Georgetown – out in the cold.” The other signs are all on the theme of a farmstead. A sign by a chicken coop reads, “We’re laying for Georgetown.” While a sign near an old mower states, “Wabash mows ‘em down.” The team referred to in this homecoming display is Georgetown College of Georgetown, Kentucky. And, in front of a Homecoming crowd of 1,500 we beat them 9-7.

This is a snap of the view of campus from the south. There is a lot going on in this picture.

In the foreground we can see the football field and the yard markers. At this time the field ran north and south along Crawford Street.

In the middle ground we see the baseball field.

In the back of the image we see the two newest additions to the Wabash campus – the Pioneer Chapel and Goodrich Hall – both by the same architect, Jens F. Larson. For more on the architect and his connection to Wabash see: https://blog.wabash.edu/dearoldwabash/2010/06/14/the-brothers-hopkins/

This is a closeup of the Goodrich construction, taken in September of 1938. And in the foreground is the baseball diamond.

Yet one more shot of that area, showing the pitcher’s mound and home plate.

This is the football team of 1938 stretching ahead of a game.

We see here the 1938 game against Butler. The visitor’s stands in the back look to be quite full. The Butler game always brought out the fans of both schools.

This is Jim Adamson [W1941]. Looks like he might be coaching at first base.

This might be my favorite pic of them all. It appears that this was taken just after a Chapel period. At this time, and for a long time after, Chapels were mandatory. Just another day in the life of Wabash College.

These photos are a few of the many that we have from Robert Schaller, but they offer us a glimpse of life at Wabash at the end of the 1930s. A time just ahead of worldwide war. The calm before the storm, as we say.

I hope that you have enjoyed these snaps from the past.

All best,

Beth Swift

Archivist of the College

Wabash College

Crawfordsville, Indiana