Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.


Morning Star, April 17, 2005, pg. 5

I recently acquired a copy of the Washington Gardner High School “Handbook of Information” for the 1935-36 school year. Published at the School print shop under the direction of teacher Arthur C. Hawes, this 48 page booklet is filled with interesting information. Some of the contents include a directory of school administrators and teachers, the WGHS Creed, requirements for graduation, names of clubs and organizations, an explanation of the marking system, school songs (we’ll feature these in the future), a listing of social functions, and a listing by-year of the class memorials given to the school.

This week I’d like to focus on these class memorials. These can be quite interesting. I never was able to put together a complete listing by-year of these, but this Handbook goes a long ways towards that. When you enter the WG facility today, the fish fountain that has been moved to the atrium area was originally called the Alumni Memorial. It was erected to take the place of numerous class gifts that had been destroyed by a fire at the school in December, 1926.

So here is the listing of class memorial gifts by-year, given to the Central School and its successor, (1928), Washington Gardner High School as printed in the Handbook: No gifts were listed for the years 1903, 1906, 1913, 1914,

1902-Office bookcase; 1904-Twin urns; 1905-Six arm chairs for stage (no, the chair didn’t have six arms); 1906-Two pedestals and a piano bench; 1908-Lincoln’s Gettysburg bronze tablet; 1909-Principal’s desk and teacher’s desk; 1910-painting, “Aurora;” 1911-Statue of Lincoln; 1912-Presidents in bronze, and pictures of Beethoven and Mozart; 1915-Superintendent McKone’s picture in Assembly; 1916-Painting, “Landing of the Pilgrims;” 1917-Paintings, “Washington Crossing the Delaware” and “Washington Laying His Commission Before Columbia;” 1918-Painting, “Justice;” 1919-World War I Bronze Plaque listing the names of those who gave their lives; 1920-Michigan Flag for the Junior High School; 1921-Two dozen knives, forks, and spoons (in that order); 1922-Clock for the library and a Victrola for the Junior High School; 1923-Painting, “The Departure of Sir Galahad;” 1924-Painting, “Castle of the Maidens;” 1925-Painting, “Oath of Knighthood.”

The classes of 1926, 1927, and 1928 saved their pennies together to purchase a brand new grand piano for the auditorium. 1929-Painting series for the library: “The Evolution of the Book;” 1930-Curtain drapes in the auditorium with the help of the student council; 1931-Lectern; 1932-Iron gate. Note: This iron gate remained as a divider in the west hallway for many years. 1933-Stage floodlights; 1934-Evergreen planting in front of building; 1935-Stage floodlights and Auditorium blackboard.

Let’s make a list of subsequent year class gifts that we can publish in the future. What did your Albion High School class give to the school as an official class gift? E-mail me with that information at: albionfp@hotmail.com.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a scene from the 1935-36 school year at WGHS. From the 16 mm. black and white film of school classes made in October, 1935 is this shot taken from Miss Grace Spear’s English class. It shows Valarie Peabody in the center holding two images. On the right is Ann Hafford. On the left under Valarie’s arm is Marian A. Keeler, and just to the left is Doris Clark, all members of the class of 1939.

Miss Grace Spear’s 1935-36 English class


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