Warren County Historical Society Presents …
The Digital Version “REWIND”
November 15, 2016
Good-bye, Old Friend – Glens Falls Closes a School
Changes in Glens Falls Schools
In 1981, under Dr. Andrew C. Biondolillo, Superintendent, a major reorganization of the school system in the City of Glens Falls brought significant change to the educational program. The High School became a four-year program, grades 9-12. The Junior High which had been grades 7-9 for more than 50 years became a Middle School, grades 6-8. All the Elementary Schools sent their sixth grades to the Middle School, changing all Elementary Schools to a K-5 program.
On top of major changes in school make up, declining enrollment forced the City to close Broad Street School, sending that population to Big Cross and Sanford Street Schools. Not long after, a new middle school was completed adjacent to the high school, giving the city the option of closing the oldest school in the district.
In a way of commemorating the old building, the Glens Falls Middle School students published a magazine, ‘One Last Look’ in the spring of 1987. In this Rewind column, we will reproduce some of the articles, as they appeared, from that magazine.
ONE LAST LOOK
This photograph of the building appeared on the inside front cover
The editor starts the magazine with the following:
FROM THE EDITOR
We would like to dedicate our seventh grade magazine One Last Look to the eighty plus years of people who have passed through this aging building. We picked the closing of the Middle School as our topic because our class felt that this event was too important not to have any record of in future years. It has been a hard and time-consuming job. We have taken some of our class time under the direction of Mr. Jerry Cashion, our seventh grade English teacher, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and some Fridays to work on the magazine. As we have discovered, working as a group and meeting deadlines is a task that is difficult to undertake.
Our classmates have elected officials to run the magazine. They are:
Editor: Kristen Haviland
Art Director: Jocelin
Photography Director: Amy Chase
Ad Manager: Heather Leeret
Accountant: Holly Barker
Doing this magazine wasn’t only fun, it was also educational. It has taught us how to cooperate with others, as well as teaching us how to create advertisements, deal with photography, lay out a magazine, and how to manage our money wisely.
We have gotten most of the information for our stories out of some older school magazines, the Junior Highlights, and also from students, past and present, of the Glens Falls Middle School, Junior High, and High School. Luckily our teacher, Mr. Cashion, had rescued a pile of unwanted Junior Highlights dating back to the 1930s.
It was hard picking story topics but in the end we came up with some really interesting ones. “Fads & Fashions is a story containing fashion hits throughout the years. We also have a great story interviewing graduates of Glens Falls dating back as far as 1929, as well as many others.
I personally would like to thank our English teacher, Mr. Cashion, who has greatly helped us and who has made it possible for our seventh grade class to go down in history as the people who have cared eenough about this cherished building to help us in printing this magazine. Thank you for supporting a good cause!
The first article we reproduce here is a look at the fashions through the years.
FADS & FASHIONS
by Heather Leeret & Sarah Powers
Teachers were very formal. Female teachers wore skirts with button down blouses. Male teachers wore two piece suits.
Students, on the other hand, were in between casual and formal. Boys wore sweaters and either slacks or jeans. Girls wore dresses, mini-skirts and saddle shoes.
Throughout the ’30s mystery books remained popular along with numerous dances such as the Charleston and the Lindy Hop, named after Charles Lindberg.
When 1942 rolled around, homemade necklaces were popular. They were made from corn and noodles. The boys wore crest-shaped pins.
In June 1951, it was fashionable for girls to have short hair, sleeveless blouses and cotton skirts and dresses. Boys wore brightly colored jerseys and cotton shirts. Square dancing was the hottest thing around; also the signing of award sheets. Squirt guns were still as popular as always.
June 1958 brought ping-pong and pool to the scene. Girls wore flare dresses, pony tails and barrettes in their hair.
December 1958 arrived and the time for Christmas present buying was near. The things to buy were Erlanger’s slacks and Merkel & Gelman pajamas. Long-legged tights were “in” for girls and bow ties hit the spot for boys.
A girl’s softball team was finally started in May 1960 by coach Mary Kehoe. The boys were wearing black sneakers and, you guessed it, squirt guns were still around.
Throughout the 60s and 70s girls wore mini-skirts, tight pants, and most had shoulder length hair curled up at the bottom. The boys wore hightop sneakers, jeans, and printed or non-printed shirts that hung out of their pants. Such words as “groovy” and “far out” were commonly used.
In 1979 boys wore printed shirts with large collars, jeans, and turtle necks, and printed sweaters. Boys wore checked, button down shirts with jeans. Female teachers finally broke the pants barrier and began to wear slacks to school. Male teachers shed their suitcoats. In the ’70s, clackers, yo-yo’s and, that’s right, squirt guns were enjoyed by all.
As you can tell fashions do repeat. Printed shirts, short and long skirts, hightops, and not “tucked in” shirts are all popular fashions this year (1987). With old fashions, new ones have come. New fashions include Reebok sneakers, and Swatch Watches. It can be expected that these fads and fashions will repeat again sometime in the future.
Our next article describes the attempts the students made to find out the origin of the “Indians” as the high school teams’ name.
HOW THE INDIANS GOT THEIR NAME
by Robert Mosher & David Havens
Red and Black, or Scarlets. These were the names that the Glens Falls High School teams went by prior to that eventful year, 1941, when the name “Indians” came into being.
To find out how the Indians got their name, we first contacted Mr. Walter Riechert, former principal of the Glens Falls Jr. High. He said he really wasn’t sure, but that we might check the Chapman Museum for the answer. The museum gave us the name of Bruce Cole, library historian who, in turn, gave us the names Dr. Rober Kinig and Joe King. The pace began to quicken, as we were referred to Mr. Robert Eddy who sent us on to Mr. “Putt” LaMay. Each time, the answer was the same. “I’m not sure,” or “I don’t know.”
Melvin Helitzer was a student who suggested the name “Indians” for the high school sports teams
Then, our English teacher, Mr. Cashion, gave us another lead; Mr. Harwood Beaty of Glens Falls. We finally found our answer! Mr. Beaty was a fullback on the first Indian football team in the fall of 1941. He told us that there was a school-wide contest to find a permanent name for the High School teams and that a student, Melvin Helitzer, submitted “Indians” for a name. The students and the players all liked the name and choose it for their team name. They also selected the logo pictured above for their “Mascot.” During that year, Mr. Jerry Donnelly was the coach of the football team. Some of the players were: captain and quarterback, Royal Van Vranken; halfback, Bob Pollard; fullback and linebacker, Harwood Beaty, Truman Jenkins, Walt Hammer, Harry Goldman, and Don Weeks.
There were several factors that helped to make the name “Indians” even more meaningful that year. During the third quarter of the Glens Falls vs. Fort Edward football game, Don Weeks of Glens Falls found an Indian arrowhead on the Sherman Avenue field. The team considered this to be a good omen and they brought it to all the remaining games. The team that year went undefeated, e3xcept for a tie with the Maroon of Whitehall. This also helped preserve the name. Probably the most convincing thing that year was the fans themselves, however. Cheerleaders and fans began coming to the games with headdresses, teepees and war paint. They also brought bows and arrowns to shoot at dummies, during halftime ceremonies.
Today, the fans leave their bows and arrows at home, but they still come out to the Sherman Avenue field to cheer on the Glens Falls Indians.
We finish with a poem:
ODE TO A BUILDING
A building so old, yet with offerings galore
Echoing stairwells and wet slippery floors.
Windows don’t open, fountains won’t run
Yet in these majestic spaces, we really had fun.
Young minds put to work, challenges each day.
Questions to be answered, in many a way.
We all did our best, to work in this place.
It was hard not to have a smile on our face.
A school, a memory, a place to be
The Middle School building was a great place for me.
by Cathy Lindstrand
The material for this column was prepared by Stan Cianfarano for the Warren County Historical Society.