By Rick Palsgrove
Some nearly 100-year-old pieces of Canal Winchester High School’s history have found their way home.
A 1918 pennant, a 1916 high school botany workbook and two copies of the school newspaper, “The Mirror” from 1916 and 1917, recently arrived unexpectedly in the mail at the Canal Winchester Schools’ administrative office.
“When I opened the mail I was surprised, happy and amazed to see these,” said Canal Winchester Schools receptionist Bette Warner. “It’s all in wonderful shape for its age. It’s great that someone took such good care of these pieces of history.”
Enclosed with the items was a letter from Robert Rankin, who is the son of 1918 Canal Winchester High School graduate Dorris Frettinger, who once owned the items and who died in 1982.
“The items have been given tender care over the years and perhaps could add something to the history of Canal Winchester and its schools,” wrote Rankin in his letter donating the artifacts. “Throughout her life, Dorris was a booster of the schools and the city.”
Rankin wrote, as Frettinger’s son, he “spent many car rides in the surrounding countryside often stopping in ‘Winchester,’ as we called it…When we approached Winchester my mother would often remind me that she used to drive a horse and buggy to town, park it at a stable, and catch the interurban to Columbus.”
The donated, well preserved 1918 pennant, trimmed in maroon, has been given a place of honor as it now hangs in the trophy case in the foyer of the Canal Winchester administrative offices, 100 Washington St.
The thick pages of the 1916 botany workbook, compiled by Frettinger as a high school student, is in such good condition that the dried plants pressed between its pages have retained their form and detail. On each page opposite of the pressed plant, the plant’s shadowy imprint, made over time, can be seen. The book includes Frettinger’s thorough notations on each plant in flowing handwriting, as well as the plant’s name and where she found it locally, such as the “Dutchman’s Breeches” poppy plant she plucked from “Brenner’s Woods.” Other plants in the book were found in “Moore’s Woods,” “Louck’s Woods,” and “Louck’s Swamp.”
The two copies of “The Mirror” provide a glimpse of Canal Winchester and school life from 1916 to 1918.
Among the many ads listed in “The Mirror” are Bolenbaugh Hardware, Winchester Milling, Bareis Lumber, and Taylor’s Grains, Seeds and Coal.
“The Mirror” includes poems and school event news about things like Halloween parties and wiener roasts, as well as philosophical sayings, such as, “If the world seems cold to you, kindle fires to warm it,” and “The cost of living is terrible, but it’s worth the price.”
There are also jokes such as, “Question: What do you call a man who runs an automobile? Answer: It depends on how near he comes to hitting me.”
The 1916 copy of “The Mirror” proclaimed the Indian football squad of that year as “The Best Ever” as the team went undefeated in seven games shutting out six opponents and giving up only 6 points all season, and that was to the Canal Winchester alumni team. According to “The Mirror,” the players weight averaged 145 pounds and the 12 member team was the “fastest ever to wear the maroon.” It also noted Marion Pierson was the first player at Canal Winchester to earn a varsity letter in football in each of his four years as a player.
Rankin wrote that Frettinger lived most of her life in Columbus and spent her final years in Michigan.
Canal Winchester School officials are happy she remembered her alma mater and plan to take good care of her donations.