Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dining: a brief history

Before 1900, there were dormitory areas in the building, and a dining room. But in 1900 classroom space was expanded, and the dormitory rooms provided the space. From then on students boarded off campus or commuted, and there was a lounge where they could eat, but no dining facilities for many years.

In 1928 Principal Thompson worked with the Greek letter societies then at the school, in particular Phi Alpha Zeta, and a lunch room was opened in the building that served hot lunches. In 1941, when the old building was torn down and what we know as Hartwell Hall put up in its place, a cafeteria was provided for in the basement.

Later on, as the campus expanded in the 1950s and '60s, separate buildings for dining were established. Pictured here are students in Harrison in 1970. Nowadays students and staff can enjoy the award winning services and food of BASC across campus.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Basket boarders

Back when the "The Bunch" were here in 1916, it was common for students to do what was called "basket boarding." The thing was that the school itself had no dorms, so students chose among several options. If you had the money and wanted to, you could rent a room in a house, get meals there or in town, somewhat like many students do today. Or if you lived nearby, you could easily commute. But if you lived farther away, commuting was just not possible, not back then. The roads were too primitive, cars too expensive...

One option many students followed because it solved both the commute problem and was relatively inexpensive was to basket board. Your blogger once interviewed a woman who did this. She lived on the family farm east of Rochester, and each week took the trolley to Brockport, carrying her books and yes, a basket of food for the week! Every weekend she would go home, replenish her basket, and then return to Brockport and the room she rented at the beginning of the week. (The family she rented from supplied some perishables, like milk; the basket would be packed with things like bread, cheese, apples...) That student was Ethel Henning '20, who went on to teach for many years in the Walworth schools.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Football at Brockport!

The history of football at Brockport goes back a long way. Pictured here is the team ca1900. (The gentleman in the second row, standing, with beard and wearing a bowler, is Charles MacLean, the head of the school, and avid football fan.) The local newspaper, the Brockport Republic, has a mention of football at the school as early as 1889. Within a few years the team was regularly playing other teams and enjoyed some successful seasons. In 1915 though the sport was dropped, in part because of a shortage of players, but also because this was a time of controversy for the sport which was under fire for the many injuries and even occasional fatalities that took place in that era.

After a period of some years football was revived at Brockport in 1947, under coach Bob Boozer, who was to become a legendary figure in campus athletics with his "Boozermen" football team.

Monday, September 20, 2010

89.1, The Point

Like anything, Brockport's radio station, The Point, has a history. The story of radio at Brockport goes back to the early 1950s, when the Stylus noted that both Fredonia and Oswego had radio stations, and urged the establishment of one at Brockport. WBSTC began broadcasting on a closed circuit in 1957, and is the predecessor to today's station. Pictured here is the radio staff in the early '60s!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

First African American graduate

The first African American to graduate from Brockport was a woman, Fannie Barrier, in 1870. She was a native of Brockport, growing up at 57 Erie Street. Her father was a barber and coal dealer, and her brother and sister also attended Brockport.

Fannie went on to have quite a significant public life. Starting as a teacher, she married, and as Fannie Barrier Williams become for many years a noted speaker and activist. She and her husband were also friends and supporters of Booker T. Washington.

In the late 1920s she retired, a widow, back home to Brockport and lived with her sister Ella at 163 Erie Street, where today a historical marker commemorates her life. You can learn more about her in this online entry from Notable American Women.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Constant Companions

One might say that trees can be our constant companions, sometimes coming before us and living on after we are gone. The college has some wonderful such companions, the lovely old trees on the lawn surrounding Hartwell Hall.

Unlike much of the rest of the campus, which was residential or agricultural use in the past, the land where Hartwell Hall stands has been campus lawn ever since Hiel Brockway, founder of Brockport, donated the land for the school in the 1830s. While it is hard to say if any trees on the lawn are quite that old, several of the sycamores may come close, and the venerable maple pictured here is easily 125 years old or more. When you next cross the lawn at Hartwell take a moment to greet these companions of our school!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

"Diaper Alley"

Never heard of Diaper Alley? Well, not many nowadays know of it, but it was quite something in its day. Diaper Alley was the fond nickname given to some temporary married student housing that once stood on campus. It was in the parking lots on the north side of Hartwell Hall, by the railroad tracks.

Back then the campus wasn't anything like the size it is today; Hartwell was still the main building. With the GI Bill though student numbers were growing, and some of these WWII vets were married and had young families. So a temporary building was set up, and "Diaper Alley" was born! This building is long gone of course, but there are still some around who recall it, including one of our library retirees.

Friday, September 3, 2010

"...our little untried craft, 'The Stylus..."

Although there was an earlier student publication, the "Normalia," today's Stylus dates back to 1914. In the early years it was not a newspaper, like today, but a magazine that came out several times a year. The first issue was that of May 1914.  The editors wrote that:

"We are starting our little untried craft, 'The Stylus,' upon its first voyage... (our) earnest endeavor is to launch it right... keeping it far from the rocks of failure."

They surely succeeded, for here we are, almost a century later, and the Stylus is still going strong! Pictured here are two of the 1914 staff, Dorothy Harsch and Louis Meinhardt.

That first issue, like subsequent ones through the 1920s, was a mix of news items, short fiction pieces, humor columns, sports news and so on. Among the news in that first issue was that the basketball team had enjoyed a winning year, there were several pages of foreign language submissions, in German and French, and one student wrote a brief history of the school. To further it's appeal, each June issue was longer and served as the school yearbook.