Mud Hollow

This aerial picture is from the 1950’s. I love it because it shows us Mud Hollow so very clearly. Mud Hollow was Wabash’s version of a veteran’s village to accommodate the men who attended Wabash with their families. It was also home to very new, very young faculty members at times including Vic and Marian Powell and Lew and Mary Ann Salter.

For reference, this image was taken from a plane flying over the Chapel. The top of the photo is south and the line through the middle is the Big Four Railroad. As we can see the baseball field was where we now have parking for the Allen Center.  The Lambda Chi house is hidden by the trees. The circle at the upper right of this photo is the Sycamore Hills addition as it is just being developed.


This image is one of a series of brilliant cartoons created by Don Cole [W1952] for the 1956 yearbook. This is the original Wally Wabash in his new role as a resident of Mud Hollow.

Here is a photo of a couple of real Wallys as they study. The caption notes that these are the Chuck Preston and Pete Hodges families, again this image is from the 1956 yearbook.

The Bachelor of September 27, 1946

“Fifteen government housing units, each containing two apartments, 20×27 feet providing accommodations for thirty married veterans, are being erected on Jennison Street opposite the football field,” according to a statement by W. B. Guthrie, Director of Housing for the college.

Each apartment is to be of metal type construction, insulated, and is to include a living room, two bedrooms, a kitchenette and a bath. Separate entrances, heating and cooking units, oil heat, electricity and water are furnished with each apartment.

The basic rental is $27.50 per month including light and water fees. In addition, the government charges $6.00 per month for the use of furniture.

A notable feature of the housing was a raised walkway to keep the tenants out of the mud, so ubuiqitous that the area was pretty quickly nicknamed Mud Hollow. The name stuck and was recognized by the college with a bronze plaque erected on the site which was unveiled by President Thad Seymour.

Beth Swift


Wabash College

Scan Magic

Hovey Museum

When I make a presentation about the history of the college, I like to start with this image. It is a photograph of the Hovey Museum taken for the 1898 Viewbook.The Hovey Musuem occupied the old Polytechnic Gymnasium which was demolished to build the “new” gym and Armory. I use this image to highlight the changing nature of work here in the Archives. With technology I can now scan an image and share it with anyone who might be interested. Additionally, the scanning helps with research in the following way. Whereas before this technology existed we could only look at this picture as it is here. We could and did use a magnifying glass to see more detail, but that was the extent of what we could learn from this image.

When we scan here in the Archives, we scan at a high level of resolution for our preservation images. We then downsize all our “use” images from that master. By scanning at a high resolution, we only need to scan once. Perhaps the biggest plus is that we can now see details that we couldn’t see before scanning. By having such a high resolution image, I can zoom right into the picture.

For instance, I can now tell you that the cabinet on the back wall holds starfish.  As you might imagine, with this hi-tech tool we are learning new things from our old “stuff”.

Beth Swift

Past elections

Mock Conventions of the 20th Century

While searching for a picture for a sign here in the Archives, I came across these photos of Mock Political conventions through the 20th Century .

The first image is, I believe, from the 1960 election. While none of these pictures are dated, the signs are somewhat helpful in dating them.

This next photograph is easily identified as 1956, Eisenhower’s re-election campaign.

The next  images  are, I think, from the late 30’s. The picture with flags and FDR also has a very young Warren “Butch Shearer” seated at the desk. The question becomes, was he there as a student of the Class of 1936 or as a very young member of the faculty and lastly is the band playing “Happy Days are Here Again”?

The last of this set of pictures is from the 1970’s. My best guess is 1972 as in the middle of the picture below is a young Peter Frederick who came to Wabash in 1969.

Beth Swift


Wabash College

The Originals of 1904

Your Wabash College Little Giants


This Varsity football team of 1904 was the first to be known as the Little Giants and the first to be coached by Francis Cayou, pictured second row, far left. This team played and beat Hanover 81-0, Butler 51-0 and Earlham 35-0. They also lost by close scores against much the larger teams of Purdue, Illinois, Notre Dame and Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State). It was due to their determination that Coach Cayou told them that they played like “little giants”. Overheard by a newspaper reported and reprinted, this tag stuck and so all of our sports teams have been known since that time.

The second African American football player for Wabash is pictured in the top row, far left. Walter M. “Bill” Cantrell started in the position of right tackle and was from Danville, Illinois. The first African American football player was Samuel S. Gordon who belonged to the team of 1903.  Both teams faced discrimination and some schools threatened to cancel if either man played. President Kane was firm, these men would be allowed to play or the games would be cancelled. Both men did play with their teams and some games were cancelled. Wabash Always Fights, but that is another post for another day.

Lastly, I would also like to highlight William Spaulding, the team captain pictured in the front row holding the ball. Spaulding became a coach at Western Michigan from 1907-1921. He left Michigan for  Minnesota from 1922-24. The last 13 years of his coaching career were spent at UCLA from 1925-38. For the next ten years he served as UCLA’s athletic director.

Beth Swift


Campus 1878

This is a small part of a page from the Atlas of 1878. We can learn a lot about the history of the campus from this small image. The “College Building” is Center Hall, with its new library and chapel in the first and second floors of the north wing. The “Dormitory” is what came to be known as South Hall. The “Normal Building” is Kingery Hall and it housed the Teacher Education department or Normal School.

“Forest Home” is of course Forest Hall which Caleb Mills bought and had moved to this campus, about where the Sparks Center is today. The “Gymnasium” was also for a number of years the Hovey Museum then later referred to as Assembly Hall. “The “Headley House” was the home of Atlas Minor Hadley, a professor. This is the home that today we call the Kendall House.

Moving again to the north of the campus, we see the “Old Town Cemetery”. Actually mislabeled, this was the Presbyterian Cemetery or the Mills Cemetery as it was owned by Caleb Mills. This was where our founders and the friends of Wabash were buried in the middle of the the 1800’s. Now behind the Phi Psi house, in the years after this Atlas was drawn, the area was developed as residential housing. I read that the graves were very carefully opened and the contents removed to Oak Hill Cemetery.

The “Wm Herron” house across from Campus is where Dean of Students Mike Raters lives today. Lastly, the “Crawfordsville Coffin Manuf.” is where the Lew Wallace Motor Inn was located for decades.

I hope you enjoy this map as much as I did.

Beth Swift


Study Camp 1934

As a part of the new curriculum which was instituted in the late 1920’s, seniors were expected to display a “mastery” of the subjects they had studied. Comprehensive Examinations were instituted to measure that mastery. Another new idea instituted at the same time was Study Camp, one of the highlights of the senior year. The days would be spent hiking and studying. In the evenings, several professors, and often the President, would join the seniors for dinner followed by an in-depth discussion. The image above is from Study Camp of 1934.

The handsome fellow with the walking stick in the image below is John Gaylord Coulter, the man who innovated Study Camp.

Here’s another image of some students and their prize catch…


Beth Swift


Wabash College





Junior Fence

Junior Fence

This is an image of the Junior Fence from the 1920’s. This fence stood between Center Hall and the Peck Hall of Sciences (where Hays Hall now stands). In this photograph we are looking into what is now the Mall. On the far left behind the fence is Forest Hall, to the right of that is the Tapy house, which were both moved for the construction of the Campus (later named Sparks) Center. At the far right of  the picture is the Wabash Power Plant, about where the flagpole on the Mall is today.

The junior fence and the senior bench were pretty seriously guarded. Each was passed to the next class during Class Day ceremonies at the end of the year.

I like this image because it shows us the Mall before it became the heart of the campus. At the time of this picture, this area was still functioning as the backyard of the College.

Beth Swift


Wabash College


World War I

This is a picture of the barracks that housed the Student Army Training Corps of World War I. As America entered the Great War a program was created to avert the “Lost Generation” scenario that had played out in England while also educating the next generation of leaders. All over America there were units of the Student Army Training Corps. The men of the SATC were enlisted in the army, enrolled in college where their tuition and expenses were paid. In short, they were paid to drill and to study.

The barracks pictured here were located about where the Chapel is today and the smaller building between the others was the shower house.


Beth Swift

Center Church

Hello I am Beth Swift and I am the Archivist for the College. While keeping the history of a place as rich in traditions and heritage as Wabash I see lots of great images. In this blog, Dear Old Wabash, I will share a bit of the richness of the Wabash story as I post some of the more interesting images, along with a bit of historical context. This first image is a nod to our founders and the early days of the College. This is Center Church which was founded by the same men who founded our College. Just in the back of this image we can see a house peeking out from the church. It was to this house that Caleb Mills brought his new bride when he came to the “Wabash Country” as a teacher and a preacher. To place this image in its proper spot, I should note that this is the corner in downtown Crawfordsville known to later generations of Wabash men as the site of Tommy’s Silver Dollar…Below is a description of the church, and its many connections to the College, by President Tuttle.

 “Old Center Church occupied the corner of Washington and Pike streets. Its successor is ‘The Joel Block’ The old church was not stately or elegant…It had a basement and in front a wide and high stairway, leading to the main audience room….A score and a half of generations of students have used these steps to attend the President’s Lecture…It was also occupied occasionally for lectures and college exhibitions. And among these were the services of ‘Baccalaureate Sunday’ and ‘Commencement Week.’” President Joseph F. Tuttle in the Wabash Magazine of January 1895.

Below is a program from the eighth commencement held in 1846.

All best,

Beth Swift


Wabash College

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