Some High School History from the Class of 1964

. . . from the Class of '64

Prior to 1915, high school students attended West Central on the corner of Hopocan Avenue and Third Street from 1905-1911 and Lincoln School on Wooster Road West from 1912-1916. [To learn more about earlier years, refer to Page 60 of 100 Years of Magic: The Story of Barberton, Ohio, 1891-1991 by Phyllis Taylor.]

In 1915, the Barberton Board of Education began the process to build a centrally located high school and voted and approved bonds in the amount of $150,000. The cost of the proposed 150' x 280' site owned by A.R. Henry (whose maid during part of her high school years during the Great Depression to help support her 8 siblings was Magdeline (Juszli) Smeller, future math teacher at U.L. Light Junior High and mother of Class of 1964 classmate Don) on the corner of Hopocan Avenue and Newell Street was $13,000. Wesley Kreigbaum, a Barberton contractor, was paid $98,000 (excluding the plumbing and heating) to construct the new building which included 19 classrooms, a library, a gymnasium, and an auditorium. By June 1916, Central High School was completed but wasn't dedicated until May 30, 1917 (Decoration Day), in a ceremony that included music by the Ladies' Band and the Barberton Band and a big parade of school children.

Before Central High School was built, the first known yearbook was published in 1914. The names of the yearbooks over the years have been: 1914 ~ DUNCIAD (the title of a satire in heroic couplets by Alexander Pope); 1919 ~ TAPS (World War I); 1924 ~ TRICK BOOK; 1928 ~ HOPOCAN (in honor of Chief Hopocan); 1929 ~ BARHISCAN(Barberton High School Magician). In 1931, printing of the yearbook stopped due to lack of funds and the Great Depression. Publication resumed at a later date (the exact year is unknown) with the yearbook named THE MAGICIAN up until 1945.

In 1920, the first issue of the school newspaper, THE MAGICIAN, was published.

In 1924, twelve more classrooms were added.

In 1928, Harold A. Pieffer became principal (retiring after 38 years of service in 1966).

Also in 1928, Karl Harter was hired and served 37 years in various athletic capacities (resigning as Athletic Director in 1965).

During the 1930-31 school year, the Student Council (which included Robert L. Carson, father of our Class of 1964 classmate Barb) voted to change the brown and white school colors to our stately purple and white.

Also in 1931, Eleanor Carlisle entered and won a BHS song writing contest, and her version of the BHS Fight Song is still used today

Oh, BHS we will down them, down them everyone 
Oh, BHS will be victors 'til the day is done 
Oh, we will fight all our rivals as through their lines we run 
For we are fighting for the honor of old Barberton.

To the team, to the team, to the boys who wear the "B" 
With luck, with pluck we'll drive to victory 
We are winning, we are winning, see our goal in view.

Oh, BHS we will down them, down them everyone, 
Oh, BHS we'll be victors 'til the day is done 
Oh, we will fight all our rivals, as through their lines we run 
For we are fighting for the honor of old Barberton.

In 1934, the first BHS band was organized.

In 1936, the concrete BHS Stadium was built at the Athletic Field on Norton Avenue.

In 1939, twelve more classrooms and a cafeteria were added.

Also in 1939, construction was in progress as part of the Works Project Administration (WPA) to add additional space needed for BHS which included space for the housing of Central Grade School. Because landowners adjacent to the existing building were asking too high a price for their land, it was decided that East and West Central Schools (located in the block between Second and Third Streets NW on the south side of Hopocan Avenue) would be razed to make way for the two-story $382,313 Industrial Arts building and gymnasium. The gymnasium was in the center of the building with a stage at the far end. The Industrial Arts rooms and shops (two drafting rooms and shops for woodworking, pattern making, sheet metal, foundry, machine shop, auto mechanics, welding and electricity) were located on the Second Street NW side of the building. An underground tunnel was constructed under Hopocan Avenue to connect and access the main BHS building (north side of Hopocan Avenue) with the Industrial Arts Building (south side side of Hopocan Avenue) so that students did not have to walk across a busy street during the school day.

In a 1940 football program, the words to the BHS Alma Mater (Eleanor Carlisle is credited with writing the words and adapting the music) were:

Here's to the Lad who wears the "B."

Here's to our colors true-- 
Here's to our Alma Mater dear, 
We love you.

Here's to the Lad who's brave and bold, 
The Lad who has fought and won-- 
Who fights for the Right and for Victory, 
A True son of Barberton.

In 1942, the BHS Athletic Field on Norton Avenue was expanded to the north with the purchase of 8 acres for parking and future use.

In 1945, the BHS Alma Mater was written by BHS Band Director William A. Tritchler and played for the first time during the half-time of the Barberton vs. Euclid game on Friday, September 14, 1945. [The second line from the original version was "with our hearts so brave and strong."]

Alma Mater, dear Barberton, 
Alma Mater, brave and strong.

Alma Mater, we hail thee, 
Through all the ages long.

Alma Mater, dear Barberton, 
As we read thy story o'er

We revere thee, and cheer thee 
As we sing thy praise once more.

Also in 1945, the BHS yearbook was renamed the CIGAM, "magic" spelled backwards. In October, the first radio broadcast from the BHS stadium was announced.

In 1947, Robert J. Hofstetter (father of our Class of 1964 classmate Karen) became the BHS Marching Magics Band Director (retiring in 1966) and led the BHS Marching Magics to national acclaim.

[To date, it has not been verified when the band and choral rooms were placed in the Industrial Arts Building. It has been confirmed that the band room was in the Industrial Arts Building as early as 1950 by Roberta (Hofstetter) Jones (Class of 1954), daughter of R. J. Hofstetter.]

In 1955, the Barberton School District Maintenance Building was located on Morgan Street.

In 1958, the BHS Marching Magics was converted to all-brass instrumentation which included baritones, trombones, altoniums, basses, cornets, e-flat cornets, and drums.

In the fall of 1960, new purple-pant and white jacket band uniforms with white hats and purple plumes were purchased through the efforts of a 300-member Band Booster's Club.

It has been verified that at least as of 1961, a warm-up Band Room was incorporated under the BHS Stadium. Prior to that, band members dressed in uniform at the Industrial Arts Building where the Band Room was located, marched to the stadium, and then marched back after the game, no matter what the weather.

In 1962, the BHS Marching Magics expanded to "collegiate" size of 128 musicians.

In 1963, the Barberton School District Administration Building was built on Norton Avenue.

In 1964, the baseball team (including classmates from the Class of 1964) won the first game (8-0) played on the new baseball field at the Athletic Field on Norton Avenue.

In 1965, a new library, cafeteria, four classrooms, and a band room were added.

In 1971, an addition (dedicated in May) was made to the Industrial Arts Building which became the new location for the band room (back to the original area where our Class of 1964 band room was located).

In 1983, the Industrial Arts Building was renamed K. Jack Greynolds Gymnasium.

In 1993, Barberton City Schools celebrated their 100th Anniversary.

In 2000, the community gathered to bid final farewells to the 85-year-old Hopocan Avenue BHS building and, in August, celebrated as the doors flung open to the new 264,000 square foot, state-of-the-art BHS facility on the corner of Barber Road and Norton Avenue.

In August 2004, the hallowed halls of good old BHS came tumbling down to make way for a new 3-pool Natatorium with the 1965 cafeteria/library addition remaining intact to house the new location for the Barberton Senior Center. Plans for the Industrial Arts Building across the street include a fitness center and home for the Barberton Health Department. Though our BHS walls have crumbled, may we sing its praise once more by remembering it was part of the mix that provided us, the Class of 1964, with a solid foundation through all the ages long.

By Elaine (Backus) Higgins