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Fire at Webster Groves High School-new addition put out quickly

Fire at Webster Groves High School quickly put out

23 hours ago  • 

WEBSTER GROVES • Firefighters quickly extinguished a fire Saturday on the roof of Webster Groves High School, officials said.

The fire broke out about 1:45 p.m. The cause has not yet been determined, but Webster Groves Battalion Chief Tom Yohe said it was "possible" the fire was sparked by one of the school's solar panels.

Departments from around the area responded to the 2nd alarm call. The fire was contained within 15 minutes, Yohe said.

Officials said there may be some water damage to the school's third-floor classrooms from fighting the fire. No firefighters were hurt, and any damage to the building was minor. 

The school's seniors graduated Friday, but Yohe said because access to the roof was difficult he "seriously doubted" the fire could have been started by students.  The school is expected to be open Monday.

2012-09-14 tracking Features section Friends Maintain 40-Year Float Trip Tradition Read more: http://www.websterkirkwoodTimes-Friends-Maintain-40Year-Float-Trip-Tradition.



Webster High grads have explored Missouri's waterways since the 1970s


The 40-year floaters are, from left: Mark Maness, Steve Baureis, Carl Schmidt, Terry Schulte, Ken Klinkhardt, Tom Merker, Chuck Mittler and Tom Shontz. (click for larger version)
September 14, 2012
If you ask Carl Schmidt why he and some friends from Webster Groves High School went on their first float trip, the answer is a simple one.

"It was fun and we were teenagers," chuckled the 57-year-old Kirkwood resident.

Today, Schmidt is not a teenager anymore but for he and a few former classmates, the magic of exploring Missouri's waterways didn't come to a close with high school. That first early 1970s float trip down the Courtois River has become an astonishingly unbroken four-decade-long tradition.

"We went from being the youngest on the river to being some of the older guys now," he said.

Though they've had as many as 20 or more people on the trip in the past, the group shrunk in later years to a smaller core of participants. Eight went out for the event this time around.

  St. Louis Effort for Aids
Chuck Mittler, a Shrewsbury resident whose family owned the property where the floaters went that first summer, said he loves getting together annually with folks from earlier floats, some of whom live out of town.

"Forty years ago, if we'd have told somebody we'd be doing it this long, I'm sure they would have thought we were crazy," said the 58-year-old. "I guess it's just a tribute to our friendship that everyone looks forward to it."

Mittler has the interesting distinction of being one of only two people from the group to have made every single trip. Even Schmidt can only lay claim to 39 of them, having missed the 1982 event to participate in a different float.

Mittler takes some pride in his perfect streak. He recalled when his son was trying to schedule a date to get married. The young man and his bride were considering the first week in August, when the trip is normally held.

"I said that'd be fantastic but I'd sure hate to miss your wedding," joked Mittler.

Participant Mark Maness recalled that a number of the floaters first met as members of the high school football squad.

"I guess that was one of the reasons we all first started hanging out together," said Maness, who has made all but one of the trips. "We'd sit under the bleachers waiting for practice to start."

They nicknamed the area, "the linemans' lounge." In a sense, the annual rite may have been an extension of that.

"We all love getting back to nature but the hanging out is always the fun part for me," said the 58-year-old, who still lives in Webster.

The floaters may have started on the Courtois but they didn't stop there. Other trips have taken them to various destinations, including the Current, Black and Meramec rivers, as well as the Lake of the Ozarks. For the past decade or so, they've been hitting the Jacks Fork.

Typically, they float on Saturday with a big meal that night followed by a Sunday of relaxing by the water. They used to camp under the stars although as they've gotten older, they've found the air-conditioned cabins a more attractive option.

No matter where the friends stay however, one thing remains the same. They enjoy interacting with each other as well as the other floaters.

"Half the enjoyment is being around a lot of people," Mittler said. "If we really wanted to float in seclusion, we could float in the middle of the week and not see anybody, but that's part of the mystique. With all the other people out there, you see interesting things."

Sometimes those things can be pretty interesting indeed. Schmidt recalled seeing everything from overly enthusiastic partygoers to romantic troubles in other float groups passing on the river.

"The old saying is that before you get married to the girl that you are dating, take her on a float trip and if you survive together then you know you are compatible," he laughed.

He said the other float groups can always be a source of entertainment.

"We always say we could start a reality show if we'd film on the river," he said. "It's amazing the things that happen."

The elements can sometimes be as interesting as the people. Over the years, the group has encountered both low water levels and high water levels, as well as excessive heat. Schmidt even remembered one terrifying thunderstorm where the floaters sought refuge under a rock overhang.

"We pretty much stayed out of the rain and all that but there were people on the other side of the river on a gravel bar holding aluminum canoes over their heads against the rain i
What Ever Happened to Plymouth Jr. High School?

The Plymouth building, located at Plymouth and Lockwood, was owned by the Webster Groves School District and used for many years as a junior high school. Webster University (Webster College at that time) leased the building from the school district in August, 1978. Webster attempted to buy the property through the years, but its final offer of $725,000 was rejected in 1984. That year Cordage Mill Development Co. bought the property for $1,016,100. It subsequently demolished the building and built the Ashford condominiums.

Webster made extensive use of the building during its lease. Plymouth housed the art, language and literature, and dance departments. The Cecille R. Hunt Art Gallery opened on March 23, 1983. A student union opened on April 9, 1984, on the first floor. The gym was renovated for the new athletic department in 1984. Management classes met there at night. In addition, university services such as admissions, financial aid, academic advising, and student services were located at Plymouth.

Webster High School Wall of Fame Inductees

Wall of Fame inductees

As part of Webster Groves High School's participation in the Renaissance Program, a "Wall of Fame" was established in 1989 to recognize the accomplishments of its graduates. To date, 61 alumni have been inducted into the WGHS Wall of Fame (Not to be confused by the sports "Hall of Fame").

To be considered for the Wall of Fame, candidates must: - Have graduated from Webster Groves High School at least 15 years prior to nomination. Posthumous nominations will be considered as well. - Be evaluated on the significant contributions they have made to their respective field(s) and/or their significant contributions in the area of volunteerism. - Be contacted to grant consent for consideration and to verify submitted data. - Graduates may self-nominate. Nominations will be accepted and will be reviewed by a committee of alumni and current faculty.

  • Thomas Curtis, Class of 1928
  • Marshall Magner, Class of 1932
  • Eunice Farmer, Class of 1935
  • Arno Heuduck, Class of 1935
  • Marian Miller Hamburg, Class of 1936
  • Walter Barker, Class of 1939
  • Eugene Wehrli, Class of 1940
  • Helen Hofsommer Glaser, Class of 1941
  • William Webster, Class of 1941
  • John Gable, Class of 1942
  • Warren Gerlach, Class of 1942
  • Clay Felker, Class of 1943
  • Robert Nooter, Class of 1944
  • Donald Conrad, Class of 1948
  • William Conway, Class of 1948
  • Paul Marti, Jr., Class of 1948
  • Donald Breckenridge, Class of 1949
  • James Gordon Forsyth, Class of 1949
  • John S. Rosebrough, 1950
  • George B. Schaller, Class of 1951
  • Robert W. Koch, Class of 1952
  • Ann Johanson, Class of 1952
  • Robert Lindholm, Class of 1953
  • Merritt R. Helfferich, Class of 1953
  • Julie Forsyth Gustafson, Class of 1954
  • Cid Keane, Class of 1954
  • Donald Hoss, Class of 1954
  • Robert Phemister, Class of 1954
  • Richard Toft, Class of 1954
  • Robert H. Wurtz, Class of 1954
  • John Fox Arnold, Class of 1955
  • Richard S. Page, Class of 1955
  • Fritz Rehkopf, Class of 1956
  • Harry “Skip” Caray Jr., Class of 1957
  • Jack Lorenz, Class of 1957
  • Gene McArtor, Class of 1958
  • Eunice Nicholson Askov, Class of 1958
  • T. Allan McArtor, Class of 1960
  • Jane Evans, Class of 1961
  • John L. Trotter, Class of 1961
  • Peter C. Vesey, Class of 1963
  • Carol Stern Soroos, Class of 1963
  • Harriet Stein Smith, Class of 1963
  • Robert Dotson, Class of 1964
  • Patricia Corrigan, Class of 1966
  • Corine Bickley, Class of 1967
  • Greg Marecek, Class of 1967
  • Rosalind Wilkins, Class of 1967
  • Douglas H. Yaeger, Class of 1967
  • David Allen Dunlop, Class of 1969
  • Victor Farwell, Class of 1969
  • Joey Ford, Class of 1972
  • Ruth-Mirriam Garnett, Class of 1972
  • Alice Boccia Paterakis, Class of 1973
  • James G. Martin, Class of 1976
  • Jonathan Franzen, Class of 1977
  • Russ Mitchell, Class of 1978
  • Scott Bradley, Class of 1979
  • Kevin S. Walker, Class of 1979
  • Kelvin N. Crenshaw, Class of 1982
  • Keith Nolan, Class of 1982
  • The Chalkboyz, Class of 2006
Trivia from Lockwood Grade School



EDITOR  ......................................................     Jan Musterman

ASSISTANT EDITOR  ......................................     Susan Chadbourne

ART EDITOR  ................................................     Monica Rabbitt

REPORTERS  .................................................     Susan Allen

                                                                        Tom Donaldson

                                                                        Shannon Fobert

BUSINESS MANAGERS  ....................................    Pam Jackson

                                                                        David Kohl

                                                                        Mark Stromdahl

58th T-Day Classic At Memorial

The following article is from the Nov. 23, 1972 Turkey Day Game Brochure - reporter unidentified.  Cost: 50 cents

Once again the noble knights of the Webster Groves and Kirkwood football teams meet on the treacherous field of combat to determine the possession of the celebrated Frisco Bell for one more year.  In opening this game, fans can take pride in a rivalry that has proven to be one of the oldest between two high schools west of the Mississippi.

Nearly every year since 1907, at Thanksgiving time, Kirkwood and Webster Groves have declared a temporary state of war upon each other.  These battles have favored Webster 33 times, Kirkwood 19 times, and have ended in a dead-lock 5 times in the past 58 games.  There were a few years earlier in this history, when the rivalry was very young and immature, that the game was not played.  The suspension of the traditional festivities were due to riots, pranks, vandalism, and general disturbances caused by the overly spirited students.  But the schools have not been denied the Turkey Day game since 1928.

Each year, in building the game to a climax, both schools participate in colorful, spirit-boosting activities to help fire-up their teams.  This year the torch light parade, the bonfire, and the symbolic burning of the over-sized and over-stuffed Kirkwood Pioneer highlighted Wednesday night as high-spirited Webster Statesman issued Kirkwood its declaration of war.

No matter what the outcome, students will gather together in harmony Saturday night for the Friendship Dance at the Kirkwood Branch of the Y.M.C.A.  They can reminisce about this year's game, see the coronation of the Football Queens, and watch the presentation of the Frisco Bell and the Jug.  The bell, donated by the Frisco Railroad in 1952, is rewarded to the winning team, while the "Little Brown Jug" is presented to the loser as a consolation prize.

However much "hatred" each school seems to have for the other, nothing could be more misunderstood.  It takes a great deal of cooperation, sportsmanship, and friendship to make each Turkey Day Game a reality, and the spirit should not be confused with malice.





Orange and Black Pacesetters

The following article is from the Nov. 23, 1972 Turkey Day Game Brochure - reporter unidentified.  Cost: 50 cents

A blast from the past for you football fans:

If there is one asset that has helped the Satesman in their success this year, it would have to be depth, the depth that filled in for Jeff Hilliar after he was injured in the Parkway Central game, the depth that took over for Mark Stromdahl after his mishap in the same contest.  It took the Hugh Fletchers, the Jim Hadleys, and the Phil Hunts to fill in for the starters when the unexpected and unhoped for happened.

It also took the versatility and leadership of a Mike Southworth to make a team go.  One look at the statistics shows just how versatile Mike really is.  He plays fullback and halfback, when need be, and has accumulated 465 yards rushing.  Not only that, but he also has 186 yards in pass receptions, for a grand total of 651 yards, and if that isn't enough for the armchair quarterback - he punts too.  At the time of this writing, he was averaging an unbelievable 44.5 yards a kick.  A guy like that can't help but to encourage his teammates.

Not to be overshadowed, though, is the person everyone has been talking about since he was in ninth grade at Hixson.  The "Globe-Democrat" called him "Superman", Coach Jones was delighted with his performance, and he has been "Back of the Week" ... a lot.  Yes, Jeff Hilliar, number 37, has really done his part for the Statesman this year.  Before his injury in the Parkway Central game, "Superman" had accumulated a whopping 726 yards rushing, and 12 touchdowns.  He has only run for LESS than 100 yards in two games, which included the Central game.

Even with two stars of this status, it is not hard to find something to say about the other two backs.  Greg Krobot, although out of the limelight, came through almost every time he was called upon; apparently he thought he had to, since he didn't get the ball that often - but number 36 is dependable not only for running the ball, but for blocking the opposition as well.  With these kinds of people in the backfield, quarterback Bob Miller will really have to excite the crowd to be noticed and that he will probably do.  At the time of this writing, he had already thrown 5 touchdown passes, run one in by himself, and racked up 659 passing yards.  He has completed 60% of his passes to his ends, Jeff Tisoto, 86; and John McDonald, 93.  "Mac" is the leading receiver with 347 yards, and has caught 4 touchdown passes.  "Big D" Tisoto does most of his stuff after he gets the ball.

The reason this writer can pay these compliments is that these backs perform; one of the reasons the backs do great things is because the line is opening up the holes, doing the blocking, and causing interference.  This starts in the middle with Larry Ott, 55; and includes the guards Chuck Mittler, 66; Jim Hadley and Phil Hunt, 77 and 60; and the tackles Terry "Moose" Schulte, 92; and Ken "Stubbs" Klinkhardt, 76.  These are the little known, unheralded members of the offensive line.

This offense sounds awesome, but history reveals that in 1970 Coach Jack Jones gave most of the credit for the first six games of that season to the defense, and back in '68 the defense played an important role in many of the close games.  The defense this year is nothing short of great, all the way from the front four:  Mark Wandersee, 82; Brad Jacobsen, 68; Al Theis, 96; and Steve Baureis, 87; to the linebackers:  Jack Joern, 62; Dave Kohl, 51; Dan Brown, 65; and Doug Tasker, 50: to the two halfbacks:  Kevin Myrick, 28; and Jed Reynaud, 84; to the Safety Ken Sloan, 25.   The unit is just that: a unit.  They show exceptional team effort each and every time they appear.  The outside men turn the plays inside, and the inside men kill.  The whole team's success is hard to measure; sure they win, sure they lose, but how do they feel?  Is a letter enough of an award, or is it the Turkey Day Game that keeps them out there working their lower backs off?  Whatever it is, we're glad it is there, because every year the event seems to intensify a little more until it becomes the highlight of the school year.  Who will win the highpoint (The Frisco Bell) this year?

2006-11-17 tracking Features section 100 Years Of WGHS
November 17, 2006
Many students and teachers have walked the hallowed halls of Webster Groves High School (WGHS) since the doors at 100 Selma Ave. opened in 1906 — 100 years ago.

In celebration of the school's centennial year, the Webster Groves School District is documenting its rich history in the book, "100 Selma…100 Years: A History of Webster Groves High School." Pat Voss is spearheading the project, along with Minnie Phillips, who is writing the book. Phillips has been an English teacher at WGHS for 36 years; Voss, who joined the district in 1969, was a social studies teacher, assistant principal, and then principal for 10 years before she retired in 2003. Since she retired, she has been doing alumni relations.

A history hasn't been done since 1968 — the 100th year founding of the district, Voss said. "It seemed logical to take this opportunity to write a history of the high school."

Building A High School

While high school curriculum was offered to ninth graders in 1889, Webster Groves High School wasn't built until 1906. At the turn of the century, the school occupied the first floor of the original Bristol School building; the elementary school was on the second floor, according to Webster Groves School District history. As enrollment increased, hallways and store rooms were used for classroom space.

The 1906 high school, a two-story brick building with three classrooms and an auditorium faced Bradford Avenue. Front wings were added in 1913. Behind the building was the Webster Groves Armory built in in 1917. It was turned over to the high school following World War I and housed the lunchroom and senior gymnasium.

"As the student population grew, they added to that building several times," Voss explained. "By 1924 everyone recognized that they had outgrown the building.

"The gentleman whose name is over the senior entrance— Frank Hamsher — was our fourth superintendent and worked with the community to pass a bond issue for a new high school," she said. It was also to have a junior high school.

The senior high opened in 1927. In 1934, the original 1906 building was razed and a junior high school was built. Each had their own entrance. A library was built connecting the two. Voss said the library was federally funded by the Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.) during the Depression. The entire complex was dedicated in 1935.

  James T. Hixson was the first principal of Webster Groves High School, 1907 to 1943. (click for larger version)
While both buildings now serve as the senior high school, the two entrances remain and have retained their names — junior entrance and senior entrance.

Roberts Gym, named after coach and teacher Charles A. Roberts, was built in 1946. A three-story rear wing was built in 1966.

Webster's Priority — Education

"Education has long been a priority of this community and continues to be," Phillips said.

"At the turn of the century high schools were really just emerging," said Phillips. "I think the school would be kind of a model for other modern public high schools. This was a comprehensive high school that would teach everybody but it would also prepare citizens for the community and for viable careers."

Phillips credited principal James Hixson for launching WGHS' co-curriculum in academics and extra-curricula activities. Hixson was principal from 1907 to 1935 and from 1936 to 1943.

From the first Turkey Day game in 1907 to the Greek literary societies, Hixson understood the benefit of after-school activities.


"The activities kids are involved in are where they become much more attached to the school and also bonded in their friendships with each other," Phillips said.

During the Hixson era, WGHS arts curriculum flourished under the leaderships of Band Director Hans Lemcke, who brought John Philip Sousa to the school in 1927; and Choral Director Esther Replogle, known as Miss Rep.

In the 1930s the school had Eugene Wood as drama director who was famous for putting on new plays in WGHS' Little Theater, a replica of the Yale Repertory Theater, Phillips said.

"Folks would come to see performances at the Little Theater who had no connection with the school," Phillips said. "That was how the world began to come to us — through athletics, through the arts."

Spotlight On WGHS, Alum

  St. Louis Effort for Aids

The world has come to Webster and its students have gone into the world and made their alma mater proud.

"We are sometimes more modest than we should be; we are not a community to toot our own horns," Phillips said. "We are honored with the caliber of students who come from this school. There's something we are doing right."

Notables who were graduated from WGHS include Alfred William Cantwell (1920), national director of the American Red Cross from 1944 to 1964; and Robert Hille (1936), on KMOX radio from the 1940s through 1960s. Also in broadcasting are WGHS grads Bob Dotson (1964) of NBC News and Russ Mitchell (1978) of CBS News. Other notables are 1941 grads Judge William H. Webster, former head of FBI and CIA; and Helen Hofsommer Glaser. She followed in her mother's footsteps and became a doctor and went on to get her PhD in psychiatry from Stanford University.

On the literary scene is best-selling author, Jonathan Franzen (1979); and Ruth-Miriam Garnett (1972), a published novelist and poet.

WGHS has been in the national spotlight on several occasions. In 1944, it was featured in Life Magazine; CBS News did a documentary "16 in Webster Groves" in 1966; in 1999, the school was featured in Time Magazine; and the next year the Turkey Day football rivalry between Webster and Kirkwood was featured in Sports Illustrated. Plus in 1996, then President Bill Clinton visited the school.

"Very few schools are touched one time and they seem to keep finding us," Voss laughed.

The Book

The book highlights the eras of its long-time principals beginning with Hixson, then Howard Latta, principal from 1940 to 1968; and Jerry Knight, principal from 1969 to 1986.

It also includes the history of the first fully-accredited African-American high school in St. Louis County, Douglass High School, located in North Webster. In 1956 WGHS was integrated.

"It was the merger of two powerhouse high schools," Phillips said.

The book will also include recent history.

"It is as recent as the last issue of the student newspaper — the Echo," she said. The book is a compilation of many sources, from the Echo, school yearbooks, scrapbooks, Webster Groves Historical Society archives, residents' submittals and more.

The book will be available October 2007.

"We already have over 150 books on reserve," Voss said.

To order, pick up an order form at the high school, and drop off a check for $40.

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