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Homecoming – a time to reflect

The cover of the Caveman of November, 1927.

Homecoming has such a nice ring to it. It is a coming home, it is a return to a place of connection, it also offers a reason to reflect. Homecoming at Wabash College is this and more, it is a chance to celebrate with those who were here and have left. As alums and their families return, the stories they tell of their time at Wabash gives our current students a look into the past at a very different Wabash. A Wabash where Chapel attendance was mandatory, where Saturday classes loomed over Friday night fun. A simpler place where, as our friend Dick Ristine used to say, “They mowed the grass twice a summer, whether it needed it or not.” It was a different Wabash and a different time, let’s have a look at some homecoming celebrations of the past.

From The Bachelor of September 28, 1912.

This 1912 article was the first call for a proper homecoming celebration. The idea was to personally invite all the former “W” men back to campus for the football game and a banquet. The “W” men were simply what we would today call lettermen, or those athletes who had earned a letter in a sport.

1912 football team, as coached by Jesse Harper, innovator of the forward pass.

A homecoming parade from the fall of 1923 on Wabash Avenue as it approaches the Grant Street corner.

A big feature of homecoming in the early 20th century was the homecoming parade. College parades were a treat for both the students and the town, which was probably a good thing as by the time homecoming was over, there would have been some in town who were less than pleased with the students. Take a look at this next picture to see why this might have been the case.

This bonfire was built by the class of 1925 in their freshman year.

Each year the freshmen would wander out into the town and gather any old thing they could find that might burn. All of these bits and pieces were stacked high for a bonfire on Friday night before the game. Here are a few more spectacular bonfire pictures.

The bonfire of 1939.

 

This photograph gives us a closeup view of the contents of the pile. Odd bits of lumber, packing crates, fruit baskets, old tables and the traditional topper – an old outhouse. Always an old outhouse! While we of the future would like to think that all of this junk was donated – a sort of a wooden equivalent of our modern toxaway day – it was almost certainly not true! Freshman would prowl the alleys of town looking for any old thing that might burn and helping themselves.  However this little nugget from The Bachelor of  November 3, 1922 tells us a bit more about the restitution which was required, “In years past it has been customary for the freshmen, in their determination to provide a record-breaking bon-fire, to make away with those old-fashioned shanties which furnished the inspiration for one of Riley’s unprinted poems. In doing this, they frequently were not very particular whose they took. Each time, however, that they have got away with them, they were required to settle with a nice sum of money. It is well to warn freshmen that Chapel collections become monotonous, and that it is better to spend the money in helping to pay for band uniforms.”

Freshmen gathering wood in the early 1920’s.

This photo shows a later tradition where the freshmen were required to wear their pajamas, chant around a bonfire and attend a pep rally at the courthouse in downtown Crawfordsville.

Here are some great shots of that.

 

 

At the courthouse for the pep rally.

 

 

 

Chapel Sing is a long lasting tradition that has changed over the decades, here is a quick look at Chapel Sing in the early part of the 20th century.

The front page of The Bachelor for October 24, 1947.

 

Chapel Sing of 1938

 

And what would homecoming be without decorations? Here are a few really good ones…

The old Delt house, across Wabash from the Beta house.

Another clever entry, this one from the Kappa Sigs, the opponent was Butler.

 

The Phi Delta Theta entry of 1941 was a real show stopper!

And one of the earliest efforts…

The Phi Gamma Delta house of 1922 all dressed for homecoming.

 

In 1922 the homecoming opponents were the Michigan State Aggies, in just three years they became the Spartans.

Here are a couple of great old pictures from the early 1920’s. Spirits were high and in the first picture below we can see the band doing its part to add to the festivities.

Homecoming parade from the early 1920s.

 

The same parade seen here on East Main in downtown.

To close this Homecoming hoopla, here are a few great invitations, inviting everyone back to campus. Homecoming is a great tradition and one we embrace with whole hearted gusto!

1968 invitation featuring Forest Hall.

 

The 1969 invite which was a clever tri-fold design.

 

1988 invitation – do you recognize any faces?

 

And look at the poster above advertising Homecoming of 1937, the opponent was DePauw.

 

1991 edition featuring the Pioneer Chapel, just waiting for the guests to fill it.

 

1971 version featured good old Wally Wabash as drawn by Don Cole.

Here are two links about Don’s work, both while a student and then afterward as he served in the Army.

https://blog.wabash.edu/dearoldwabash/2015/05/

https://blog.wabash.edu/dearoldwabash/2015/06/

 

I hope you have enjoyed these views of Homecoming over the decades. It is a great tradition and a nice time to welcome back members of the Wabash family.

What else can we say? Oh, I know!

 

All best, 

Beth Swift

Archivist

Wabash College


A Man and his Mandolin

Paul T. Hurt [W1909] served as the Director of the Glee Club in his senior year.

One of the many duties of an archivist is is the creation of historical exhibits. Each semester a new one is needed. I usually try to tie them to upcoming campus happenings or historical events on campus. This semester the exhibit is about the glee club, ahead of the club’s reunion this fall. Among the greatest pieces in our archive is an instrument from the era when the biggest musical organization at Wabash was the glee and mandolin club.

Mandolin donated by the daughter of Paul T. Hurt [W1909]

To learn more about the man, I turned to the Wabash Magazine of 1909. It was a tradition that each member of the graduating class had a profile created for them in the Senior issue of the magazine. From Hurt’s profile, which was not written by him, we learn several things. His nickname was “Doc” perhaps due to his wish to follow in his father’s shoes. The profile notes that he planned to attend medical school following graduation. Hurt was also athletic and won his baseball “W” when a sophomore. This is an indication of his prowess on the diamond in only his second year. As to his musical life, from the profile, “He is an exceedingly musical fellow and made a reputation over the state as the famous glee club man. He has been a member of the Glee and Mandolin Clubs and the Glee Club Quartette [sic] for the last three years, and was the director of the Glee Club during the past year. On the trips the girls were enraptured by his beautiful countenance and Apollo-like form. Still he has maintained a quiet dignity through it all…”

 

That is really quite a write-up!

 

After he left Wabash, Hurt studied medicine and became a surgeon in Indianapolis. Still, he always kept a special place in his life for Old Wabash. He led a life of quiet dignity, one of service to his community and loyalty to his alma mater. As a measure of his devotion, the family established an award in his name, the Paul T. Hurt Award for Freshman Achievement, first given in 1950. The list of award winners reads like a Who’s Who of Wabash men and is still offered today.

The mandolin in our display is the same at that pictured above in the Glee and Mandolin Club photo of 1908. Here is a closeup of Hurt and his instrument.

 

This beautiful instrument was given to the College nearly a hundred years later, in 1994, by Hurt’s daughter, Nancy Hurt Diener. This is the description of it, “Pear shaped body with light ribbing on bottom; raised wood decoration at bottom of mandolin; lower body is dark wood, upper body of light wood with inlay around edges and in center; neck and peg board are made of light wood on underside, dark wood on top; “3” on underside of neck.  Dimensions: 25 1/4″ x 7 3/4″ (widest part of body).” As it is so distinctive, there really is no question that we have the same instrument.

You may have noticed the handwritten score of “Old Wabash” for the mandolin in the picture of the exhibit above. Here is a closer look.

 

As to Hurt and his mandolin, we have no idea if he kept playing it, but we do know that he treasured it enough to keep it with him and pass it along to his daughter. We also know that she valued it highly and sent it to Wabash for safekeeping, which we have done and will continue to do. It is such a pleasure finding these little threads in the rich tapestry that is Wabash. President Trippet coined this metaphor and I agree that it is a complex and beautiful weaving. So many threads and so many great stories to share!

All best,

 

Beth Swift – Archivist

Wabash College, Crawfordsville, Indiana

 

 

 


Funkhouser – a jokester AND an academic

The college bell in Center Hall. The clapper was highly prized, the bottom of this clapper has been painted by a prankster. 

For nearly 150 years the Center Hall bell called the men of Wabash. The bell called them to class and it called them to Chapel, as it does yet today. The bell rang in celebration at the end of the Civil War and rang in mourning at the death of a member of the Wabash family. With such a high profile, it is not surprising that the bell has also been at the center of a great many student pranks. One of the most common was to snatch the clapper.

Funkhouser is pictured on the right. In the background we see the spire of the Center Church at the corner of Wabash Avenue and South Washington Street.

In the photo you can see these two students proudly displaying their prize. There was one student so noted for this feat that it was said of him that at any given time he had at least two clappers in his trunk. William Delbert Funkhouser (W1905, pictured at right) was a lively student and Athletic Association Yell Leader in 1902.  Smart as a whip, this scamp went on to become the beloved Chair of the Zoology Department and Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Kentucky.

The Funkhouser building located on Funkhouser Drive is home to the registrar’s office and student services. Named for our man, the building is a tribute to his immense impact on generations of students. He was as passionate about teaching as he was about pranks and often combined them. A graduate of UK once told me a story about Funkhouser teaching a zoology class. He was explaining the characteristics of a rather nasty snake and would then pull that very snake out of his shirt where it had been coiled around his middle since the start of class. Needless to say, he made quite an impression. Indeed, as I look out over the history of this place I see that the men of Wabash are a spirited bunch, and Funkhouser was no exception.

All best, 

Beth Swift

Archivist

Wabash College


100 years of service for the Armory and Gymnasium 1917-2017

Architect’s drawing of the new gymnasium at Wabash. Note the two gentlemen in front. The man on the right bears a strong resemblance to our President Mackintosh.

This post is the story of the building we know as the Armory/Chadwick Court. The drawing above was the second and final proposal for the new gymnasium built as America entered the Great War in the late 19 teens.

This picture is of the Polytechnic building which was built to house the military training and civil engineering programs of the 1870’s. As those programs were phased out, it became instead the Hovey Museum. The museum was later emptied of its biological treasures and used variously as storage, track training space, and for student organized events. One look at those menacing poles on the side shows the dangers in using this space for fast paced basketball games. The bottom line was that this building had outlived its usefulness and a newer, more multipurpose space was needed.

From the student magazine The Wabash of 1913 comes a listing of the items felt necessary in a new gym. The list of necessities begins with basketball, as the writer states,

     Basketball is one of the leading sports at Wabash; but, at present, the college is not certain that it can be represented by a team this year, because it is not sure of a floor on which to practice. Of late years the team has been handicapped because if was not able to obtain a floor as often as was desired and several conference colleges have refused to send their teams here because Wabash does not have a court of regulation size.

     The main floor of this new edifice should be large enough for at least two courts of the proper size…Underneath the main floor there should be room for a good sized swimming pool, locker space for a least five hundred men, and showers to accommodate, without delay, students who have been exercising.

     There should be a baseball cage on dirt, track facilities for the runners, a place for pole vaulting, putting the shot, high and broad jumping, and the other events of the track….There is also need of wrestling, boxing and fencing rooms, bowling alleys, and a dressing room for visiting teams.

In addition to these items, it was noted that this building, “…would also provide a large and suitable hall in which the exercises of commencement and the alumni dinner could be held.”

The calls from the student body were not new, but they were gaining in number and supported by the alumni who, like the students, were not fond of “the old barn” as the Polytechnic gymnasium was known on campus. The movement grew and the decision was made to raise the funds to create this new building on campus. This small article from The Bachelor notes that this report is tentative, from a “semi-reliable source.”

This snippet from Wabash College the First 100 Years  fills out the report above.

“The decision to raise at least $75,000 to build a new gymnasium was made at the June meeting of the Board of Trustees in 1914. A committee of five was appointed to direct the campaign, the annual alumni banquet was wildly enthusiastic, and telegrams were received from the scattered alumni associations promising their support. All the signs were auspicious. But over in Europe late in that same month a Serb shot the Archduke Ferdinand; and a long delay in carrying through the gymnasium project at Wabash was one of the incidental results of his act.”

Next time we’ll learn more about the construction, the architect and why we have a building called the Armory. Until then,

All best,

Beth Swift

Archivist

Wabash College

 

 


1898 Viewbook of Wabash College [Part II]

In the previous post we saw images from the 1898 Viewbook of Wabash College. In this posting, we will look at a second set of images from that same publication. Let’s start with the fraternities that were active in 1898.

The photo on the lower left is the Beta Theta Pi fraternity and among these 11 young men, one is of particular interest to any member of the Wabash family. The rather serious young man at the right end of the first row is Carroll Ragan, who wrote the music for “Dear Old Wabash” the song we still sing with such gusto over a hundred years later.

And here are the Phi Delts and the Kappa Sigs of 1898. In the photo at the bottom left there is one young man who will go on to command great power and world wide fame – in the back row, second from the left is Will H. Hays – who would become the Chairman of the National Republican Party, push hard for a woman’s right to vote, serve as Postmaster of the U.S. before leaving to head the Motion Picture Producers and Directors Association, otherwise known as the Hays Office.

Also important to remember is that these fraternities were not yet residential. They met in various second floor spaces in downtown buildings. Wabash College The First Hundred Years tells us that it would be a few years yet [1902] before the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity acquired the first home for its members. The Phi Delts got their “new” old house the next fall, 1903. It would be three years before the other fraternities, noting the success that the two residential fraternities were having in recruiting, joined the movement and secured houses as well.

At this time on campus, one of the bigger clubs was the Glee and Mandolin Club pictured below in 1898. Circled in red is another picture of Carroll Ragan. The Glee Club would go on tour, visiting several towns in the area where they were often quite a hit. Sometimes a few just barely making the train out of town as they were delayed due to flirting with the young ladies.

Atop all of this student hubbub, then as now, was the Faculty of Wabash.

Sixteen members in all – some whose names we still remember. At the far left in the second row is Professor Kingery, remembered by most for the building which carried his name for the next 100 years. John Lyle Campbell, front row, second from the left was an alum of Wabash who returned to teach and garnered great fame for the College. He worked professionally in the summer as a surveyor and engineer. The highest profile position he held was as secretary charged with the management of the 1876 Philadelphia Exhibition. Third from the left on the front row is Mason B. Thomas, “The Maker of Men” whose students helped raise the money to build and furnish the Thomas Laboratories in his honor. And tallest of all is Daniel Dickey Hains on the back row who taught Greek. Also an alumnus, for years at Commencement his classes presented classic Greek theater in the east campus, where Martindale Hall was built.

This faculty was blessed with a tremendous talent for teaching and, for many there was also a long association with Wabash. These teachers brought Wabash into the 20th century, not without growing pains in a landscape transformed by the rise of the public high school and increasingly influence of the state universities.

The building above is the Hovey Museum – originally built as the Polytechnic Gymnasium to house the military readiness and engineering program. With an instructor funded by the government, this program began after the Civil War. Students were taught to march in formation, the finer points of artillery fire, civil engineering and forced into a physical fitness regime. The obvious need for such a program faded and along with it student interest in marching and pulling the cannons. For years this building sat, mostly empty. In the 1880’s a young professor with a lot of enthusiasm and energy, John Merle Coulter, transformed it into the Hovey Museum. The re-purposed building was named for our first professor in the sciences, Edmund O. Hovey.  The  collections, both purchased and donated, were overflowing their rooms in Center Hall. A portion of the Hovey Collection may be seen in the photo page below. The cabinets were full of specimens for studying zoology and botany. The second picture in the trio is of the labs in the second floor used for dissection and hands-on work, while the third picture is of the lecture room.

 

 

This next set of three pictures finishes the look at the facilities of the Hovey Museum. The first photograph is a special research area and library for the higher level students. The second picture is of the office and laboratory of Mason B. Thomas, equipped with all of the latest equipment. At the bottom is the greenhouse which was attached to the Museum on the western side. This building was demolished to build the Armory and Gymnasium. The collections were moved to South Hall and decades later dispersed all over the country while the greenhouse was moved to South Hall as well.

 

That is Wabash as it presented itself in 1898. From the oldest to the newest buildings, including student activities like the fraternities, sports teams and glee club. A very different time and place and yet, in a lot of ways, much is the same. The enthusiasm of our students, the care and teaching of our faculty, a commitment to modern science facilities, all of these are still here today. A part of our history that connects the past to the future.

All best, 

Beth Swift

Archivist

Wabash College

 

 

 


1898 Viewbook of Wabash College

Welcome to Wabash College!

This picture is one of several that were taken in the late 1890’s and used for a promotional piece advertising Wabash College. As we look at this picture, let’s start at the far right with the brand new Yandes Library [which was expanded and renamed Detchon roughly 100 years later. The next thing we see is the smoke stack for the powerhouse. That structure was located about where our Mall flag pole is today. Moving left is Peck Hall of Science home to Chemistry and Physics. It was demolished to build Waugh Hall, which was demolished to build Hays Hall. Here is a photograph of Peck Hall.

This is a look inside Peck Hall at the Chemistry Department in the 1890’s. And below is the Physics Department.

The next series of pictures are of Center Hall. One item to note in the image below is the water fountain – mostly forgotten now and located on the west side of the Chapel as a planter.

Here are four different classrooms in Center Hall. You may note the Mathematical classroom has tri-pods at the front. There was a time when engineering was a major part of the curriculum.

This next set of images are also Center Hall – the Scriptorium and the Y.M.C.A. room are on the third floor and the College Chapel is the entire second floor of the north wing. Today that space is occupied by Religion and Philosophy faculty and the Tuttle Chapel.

In my next post we will have a look at the Biological Department, a few fraternities and the faculty of the time.

All best,

Beth Swift

Archivist

Wabash College

 


A beauty of a photo

This beautiful photo is from the early 1930s. This is clear because of what is not there – Goodrich Hall which was dedicated in 1938. We can also see that Forest Hall [to the right of the picture] is where the Sparks Center is now.

I love the old cars and the warm, sunny feel of this picture and I hope you do too!

All best,

Beth Swift

Archivist

Wabash College


A corner of note…

Folks who know Wabash know this corner. It stands right at the entrance to campus from downtown. This picture came from the scrapbook of John P. Collett given to the Archives by his granddaughter. This photo is from the early 1920’s and except for the brick paving on the street, the corner is much the same. And for the record, those pavers are still there too. When a pothole gets big enough, we can see down to the old bricks. Poston pavers, I expect. Crawfordsville was a center of brick making and the Poston pavers were the best.

And, here under our cold, cloudy skies, it is nice to see a sunny summer day!

All best,

Beth Swift

Archivist

Wabash College


Play it again!

Like so many clubs, groups and traditions here at Wabash the Pep Band has appeared and disappeared over time. Sometimes dependent on a strong director, sometime it came alive because of a strong student or a motivated group of students. I thought that for this post we might look back at some pics of past bands.

This pep band photo is from the 1963 yearbook. This band was under the leadership of Bob Mitchum. It looks like there are plenty of brass players!

 

This photo is from a snowy Monon Bell game in 1997 at Greencastle. What an adventure that must have been!

This looks to be an all campus pep rally. The band is on the Chapel steps and Butch Shearer is at the microphone.

This short article is from the Bachelor of 1943 lamenting the loss of the band and calling for the formation of a new band, NOW!

This is a colorful shot of this year’s Monon Bell game. The pep band is back and strong as ever. Now I may be a bit biased as it is my husband Jim Swift [son of former mathematics prof Dr. William Swift] who is directing the band. He is the fellow in the Wabash “W” shirt signaling to the band.

And a closer look will show a fellow with a Monon Mohawk playing a sax – that is Henry Swift. At the top right is David Morgan, the head of Campus Services here and at the right middle is Dr. Jeremy Hartnett, a Wabash alumnus and professor of Classics. The band is a mix of students, faculty and staff and members of the local community. All together they make a powerful sound.

Over the history of Wabash the pep band has been a really nice part of the traditions of Wabash. Glad to have it back, it adds a lot to the games, whether you are in the stands or a 1000 miles away and catching it over the internet.

Play it again – From the hills of Maine to the Western Plains…

All best,

Beth Swift

Archivist

Wabash College


Before it was the Bell game…

This is a recent gift from Greg Miller [W1983] and it is a beauty.

1919 WC vs DPU001

The Wabash DePauw game is a big event against one of our arch rivals and it is always a hard fought contest. The DePauw game has traditionallyl been a big draw for the fans of both teams and this was why in 1919 it was played in Washington Park in Indianapolis. Here is another look at the game of 1919, the same year as our opening image. This great cartoon was created by J. Allen Saunders [W1920] and printed in the Wabash Magazine in December of 1919 for the summary “Football Issue”.

WM 12 1919 p001

It is clear that Saunders has a talent for cartooning, he would go on to create some of the most notable comics of the mid-twentieth century, and that Wabash was well into its Caveman phase. Note that the Tiger of DePauw has a knot tied in his tail. The 1919 game was played to a tie, one of only nine such in the long series.

In this era Wabash sometimes played in Indianapolis to accommodate the crowds for the biggest games AND for the biggest gate receipts. Nearly all of the student body attended these notable games as at that time there was a reliable and cheap method of transportation to Indianapolis. The Interurban system enabled the fans to travel easily to attend the big games. Here is a former blog post which explains the ease with which anyone from Crawfordsville could travel to Indianapolis.

A hundred years ago…

BUT the game in Indianapolis in 1919 wasn’t yet the Bell Game, because we had no prize until 1932. It was in that year – our Centennial anniversary – that the Monon Railroad donated a bell off of one of their locomotives. The Monon was a line that served both Greencastle and Crawfordsville. It was a bit of a slow starter as the first time we ever played for the Bell the game ended in a tie. Here is summary of that game from the 1933 yearbook. It sounds like a hard fought game between two evenly matched opponents.

1933 YB072

Here is a Bachelor article which explains the gift in more detail.

BA 1932 11 18 p1 Bell for trophy

In a totally different game, here is another write-up from the Wabash Magazine about the 1912 game and although over a hundred years ago, this score seems like some of our more recent games.

1912 WC62 DPU0 WabMag

This team was pretty special and I love the opening sentence, “…using a variety of plays old and new,” which is referring to the daring new play perfected by Wabash coach Jesse Harper. The forward pass was a focus of Coach Harper at Wabash and when he left here to go to Notre Dame, it went with him. It was the key to Notre Dame’s iconic victory over Army in 1913, the game in which Knute Rockne came to national attention.

A rich tradition, the Monon Bell Game. Spirits run high, fans are divided and school spirit runs hot. The Bachelor headline from 1932 perhaps says it best!

BA 1932 11 18 p1

All best,

Beth Swift, Archivist

Wabash College

 

 

 

 

 



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