Archived Story

‘Cardinal Charlie’: Classes of 1864, 1964 opened schools 100 years apart

Published 7:29am Thursday, May 26, 2011

1929: Each week the Dowagiac Daily News had a full-page called High School News.

gillThis was written and edited by the English Department at DHS.

Side Lights — a new member has been added to the high school faculty, namely David Francis Cargo.

He will reside at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Frances Cargo at 105 E. Wayne St. (and this is the house where my friends David and Jerry Cargo grew up in the 1930s).

Dowagiac High School students have had six buildings in over 106 years.

The building erected in 1856 was at the site of the Lyons medical center (our old kindergarten through 12th grade school in my time).

It burned down in 1859.

Classes were scattered all over town until two years later a two-story brick was built and opened in the fall of 1861 on the site of the burned one.

Something of interest, the graduation classes of 1864 and 1964 went into buildings 100 years part.

In the 1890s, two wings were added to the Union school and then became known as Central.

A new high school building of 14 rooms opened in the fall of 1903 (where Justus Gage is now) which had six grades.

The three-story Central Junior High opened in 1926. The old high school became Oak Street School. It was torn down in 1954.

1940: How many remember Al Capp’s “Lil Abner?” and the “shmoos” in his comic strip in the 1940s?

A dozen of these shmoos were sent by plane and dropped and dropped over Berlin.

Each German who finds one can trade it for food at the CARE office in Berlin (my friend James Luthringer made up one of these shmoos out of gray clay with feathers and feet and I put it on display in the window of the old state liquor store in the old Elks building where Wounded Minnow is now).

Does anyone remember this?

August 1941: Fitch Camp at Cable Lake had an attendance of 120 kids. Treasure hunt prizes went to Betty Webster, Mary Ann O’Mara, Warren Stewart and Robert Mersereau Jr.

Jimme Biek has now passed his swimming test this week.

I read in one of the papers that Harley Gwilt helped build the Beckwith building and the Fred E. Lee home on High Street. He operated the elevator by using just horses for power.

George Melvin, 85, of Dowagiac, was given a gavel at the Michigan Millers Association at Hillsdale as being the oldest miller in Michigan.

“Cardinal Charlie” Gill writes a nostalgic weekly column about growing up in the Grand Old City. E-mail him at cardinalcharlie@hotmail.com.

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