Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Seventy Years

Walking was also stimulated by the requirements of Professor Gladwin's course in drawing. Sketching classes travelled to many points of the city, a favorite rendezvous being the Oread Castle, where glimpses of the fair sex added inspiration to the artists. This awe-inspiring fortress once fell before the attack of an inquisitive group of middlers. This group, in 1881, being full of mischief and emboldened by the possibility of being expelled from their own walls because of another escapade, forced their way into the Oread, inspected its rooms and occupants, then withdrew peaceably.

The first and only attempt to organize a military unit was in 1870. Students formed a company, known as the Salisbury Guards. After some drilling, they applied to the State for a stand of muskets. These were received, but the case was never opened, the organization having been disbanded before the arms arrived. The first athletic team, also organized in 1870, was in baseball. It was pretty much a scrub outfit with little equipment and no coaching. The nine played against high-school teams, its only collegiate opponent being Holy Cross, and this team was met but once or twice. Class baseball flourished and there was much rivalry in the contests. Football came in during the middle 'seventies, competition being entirely interclass for several years. Games were played on the low land adjacent to Boynton Street.

The students never did agree with Principal Thompson that shop work was adequate exercise. They talked long and earnestly about the need for a gymnasium, a project in which the faculty had no interest and for which the trustees had no funds. In the spring of 1878, however, the boys decided to create the semblance of a gym in the grove just north of the Washburn Shops. This grove was later displaced by a new wing of the shop building, but for a number of years it was the recreational center of the campus.

An athletic association had been organized for the purpose of directing football and baseball games. This organization laid out and directed the construction of the gym


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Last Modified: Fri Jul 30 11:15:25 EDT 1999