CHAPTER 5

A NEW PRESIDENT, A NEW ERA

 

            When Dr. Herrick was inducted as President of Girard College on April 2, 1910, the College was overcrowded with 1511 students.  The list of student candidates was long and growing.  Dr. Herrick was a man with a vision and a strong desire to use Girard's endowment to benefit the maximum number of students.  He wanted the College to be an outstanding educational institute and a showplace and he began a rejuvenation program.  He called for changes in the buildings, suggesting that the third floors of Buildings 2, 3, and 4 be improved by raising the roofs of the buildings.  He suggested constructing staff-houses so that today’s Allen Hall could be renovated to accommodate students. He wanted Building 7 enlarged, the dining room in Bldg 8 partitioned, and a high school that contained a gymnasium and pool.  He justified expanding religious training, wanted a professional landscaper and suggested a broad plan of future expansion.  He wanted the summer work program expanded, a pension for employees, and a country farm for non-academic students to work.  His report revealed a man with a vision.

            When the students and alumni returned to the campus after the summer of 1910, they found significant changes.   A new heating and lighting facility was nearly complete.  A new coal vault had been constructed.  The north gate was being removed and relocated near 25th Street.[1] Four new electric light towers had been installed.  New plumbing had been installed and most of the buildings were newly painted.  The power house, laundry, bakery, and Engineering Department were completely renovated.  A “new up-to-date Toilet Building, warm in the winter and cool in the summer” was being built behind No. 9 building.[2]

            In 1911, Louis Otto Heiland, a graduate of the College, was elected Secretary of the Board of City Trust.  He was the first graduate to hold a position with the Board.  Many College staff changes happened this year.  The regular Army appointment assignment to direct the Battalion was eliminated and Major Robert Brookfield (later General) was added to the College staff.   Mr. C. Stanley Mackey, a Girard graduate, was appointed Music Director.  Ernest Cunningham, another Girard graduate, was appointed Assistant Steward.  Dr. Greenewalt was appointed Physician.  The dental department was expanded and an Ear, Nose and Throat Department was established.  Many of Dr. Herrick’s building changes occurred.  The third floors of the original buildings, Nos. 1,2,3,and 4, were improved to eliminate the low ceilings, poor ventilation and lighting.  Without touching the gable, the roofs were removed.  Four feet of stone wall and windows were added and then the roofs were replaced.  The same buildings originally had large side center entrances and connecting walls that were eliminated.

            He changed all the lavatories, adding hot water, individual sinks, showers to eliminate the community baths, and tile to improve sanitation.  He asked that President's quarters be built so that No.1 building might be better used to relieve the overcrowded student dormitories.  He hired a grounds-keeper to improve the campus appearance, to plant new trees and care for the aging ones.  The infirmary was enlarged, and a new wing was added to No. 7.  The unfinished things he asked for in his 1910 report he included in his 1911 report and his top priority was new housing for the President and Vice President so that Allen Hall could be turned into four cottages for older students.  Next on his list was a new high school and then a place in the country for the students.

            The commencement speaker in 1912 was John Wanamaker, the founder of the famous Philadelphia department store.  On Founder’s Day, 1912, the Alumni presented the College a “Chronological Tablet” setting forth the main facts of Stephen Girard’s life”.  That marble tablet was hung in the old Chapel and later moved to the High School.  Retired Dr. Adam Fetterolf died on December 1st, 1912.  The Board approved constructing a new high school, planned to be in use by September 1914.  In 1912 the Battalion received new uniforms of cadet-gray, styled in the fashion of West Point Cadets.

            Dr. Herrick was a prolific writer, lecturer, and a man full of ideas.  Whereas, Herrick concentrated on the facility during his first two years, in 1912 he was changing the educational and household systems and the staff organizational set-up.  The concept of a junior school, middle school, and high school was enacted to replace the English system of First, Second, Third and Fourth Schools.  In the interest in making the College a prestigious educational institution, Dr. Herrick presented this “Curriculum for the High School Department of the College”. In the first year, the students had five hour each week of English, algebra, physical geography, and French.  They also had four hours each week of English history, general mechanical instruction, and two study hours.  In the second year, they had five hours weekly of English, general biology, French , four hours of general mechanical instruction, three hours of English and European History Study, and finally two and a half hours of both Algebra, and Bookkeeping.  In their third year, they took five hours weekly of English, geometry, chemistry, Spanish, shorthand and typewriting, bookkeeping, trade instruction, and three hours of modern European history, and two hours of commercial arithmetic.  Finally in the fourth year, they had five hours weekly of English, geometry, trigonometry, surveying or  economics, physics or Spanish, shorthand and typewriting,  and trade instruction.  Added to that were two and a half hours of commercial geography, commercial law, two hours of military science and tactics, and finally two hours of chorus.  Dr. Herrick recognized a need to educate some students in agriculture.  He pressed the Board to purchase a 1000 acre farm within 30 miles of Philadelphia to be used as a hands-on education experience for the students.  The produce would be consumed at the College.  He envisioned that the less academically talented students would live there, thereby relieving the campus overcrowding.  He even suggested that purchase of this farm would be a wise investment if it ever became necessary to move Girard College from the City.  Herrick's continuous requests were unsuccessful.

            In 1913 Dr. Herrick proceeded to hire the best educators he could find.  Dr. Joseph Jameson was hired as Vice President, D. Montford Melchoir as Professor of History, David McIlhatten as teacher of mathematics and science, and William Dunlap as Prefect.  They would remain at Girard College for many years and become important people in the education of many Girard students.  An Intermediate School (later called Tech School) was established in 1913, for students that would be too old to graduate or who did not have “the capacity” to complete high school studies.  First introduced in 1911, motion pictures, were becoming a major part of the educational process.  Talk about replacing the building numbering system with names  began this year.  In 1913, it was suggested that a room in Founder’s Hall be set-aside as an Alumni Room to display the achievements of graduates.  This year the Alumni tradition of giving boxes of candy to the students on Founder’s Day began.   Students were assigned working duties in the College to help maintain it and in support of the staff.  This was considered an essential part of their education and preparation for later independent living.

            Founder's hall was an inadequate high school building so Herrick's priority was to build a new high school. On March 19, 1914, the cornerstone for the High School was laid at the northeast corner of the building.  Beneath the cornerstone was a “hermetically sealed copper box containing a report of the Board of Directors for 1912, a copy of the “Steel and Garnet” for March 1914, daily papers of March 1914, copies of the authorization to construct the building, and a record of the builder, J.S. Cornell & Sons.”  Using the earth  from the High School excavation, he added playground space by filling in the pond and old swimming hole near the west end and in place of the outside swimming hole, he included a pool and gymnasium in the new High School.  Although there was still some work to be done on the High School, much of the facility was placed in operation on September 1, 1916.  All school facilities were transferred from the Main Building and the Administrative Offices were transferred from Building 5.  The added partitions on the second floor rooms of the Main Building were removed and the original size rooms were converted into an auditorium, a dressing room for the actors, a game room, and a reading room

            His goals, nearly all achieved, for 1914 were these: that Mechanical School instruction be broadened; the vocal department be reorganized so that the chapel singing might be improved; school gardens be extended; the boys annual field visit include a trip to the Girard coal lands; playground supervision be increased; open air classrooms be introduced; the diet of the students be studied; the Main Building be renamed “Girard Building”; Lafayette Building be renamed Todd Hall; the grounds be improved; the system of qualifying potential students be modified and simplified; the Philadelphia employment base be studied for student reference; Industrial activities of the boys be extended; Allen Hall be vacated by the President and Vice President and be modified into four residencies for older boys; more boys graduate rather than be dismissed at 18 years old; 100 acres of farm land be acquired to be used as a branch of the College, for vacationing, and for training of certain boys.

            Where the servicemen’s statue is today, there once stood a magnificent memorial to those who fought in the Civil War.  It consisted of soldiers standing beneath a marble canopy.  Over time the canopy became dangerous, so the memorial was replaced on Founder’s Day, 1914.  The statues from the old memorial were placed in the north vestibule of Founder’s Hall.  The present Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument was sculptured by J. Massey Rhind, who also designed the statue of Stephen Girard that once stood at City Hall and now stands behind the Philadelphia Art Museum.

            A new educational structure was instituted in 1915 in anticipation of the new high school.  It featured a five-year High School and a six-year Elementary School, a new concept in American education.  The new High School was occupied on September 1, 1916.

            In 1915 the will of Stephen Girard was used as a text-book for study by the older boys.  This year the concept of “Junior School”, a step between Elementary and High School, was widely discussed by educators and being considered at Girard College.   A new curriculum and organization plan were being developed in anticipation of the new High School.  Mr. Mackey, who enlarged the College band to over 100 pieces and led it to considerable acclaim, died and was replaced by Mr. George Otto Frey.  Frey was a Girard College boy who left the College in 1898 to play in several Army bands and later for ten years, he was a soloist with the U.S. Marine Band.

            In 1916, discussions began about the need for a drill hall and recreation room to be used during bad weather.  The Alumni presented the College portraits of Drs. William H. Allen and Adam H. Fetterolf, past Presidents of the College.  Mr. Frank B. A. Linton, an artist of “significant repute”, painted the portraits.

            In the 1917, Dr. Herrick acknowledged the dedication of the Girard boys in their defense of the country during  WW I.  One boy took what Herrick called “French leave” to enter the service, but Herrick mentions that, unlike the past when boys “hopped the wall,” most of the boys waited until they graduated before joining the service.  The war caused shortages of almost everything, and conservation procedures had to be installed.  The costs of clothing, footwear and food were highly inflated.  Since many of the College’s staff left to join the service and war effort, the boys were assigned to help in many domestic operations of the college.  The mechanical school shops were used to manufacture and repair items used in the College.  The Alumni presented the College with a large flag  containing 298 stars representing  the Girard men in the service.  This flag was suspended in the front portico of Founder’s Hall.  Charles F. Hummel, the Head Baker in the College for 43 years, and the originator of the Hum Mud, retired.[3]  Great care was used to select the pictures to be displayed in the new High School.  The notable selections included reproductions of the Abbey paintings in the Boston Public Library, the Violet Oakley paintings in the Harrisburg State Capitol, and the Alexander series of the “Evolution of a Book” in the Library of Congress.  Before they were displayed in the High School they were exhibited in a Chestnut Street gallery with much fanfare, and they were declared, “the finest collection ever assembled for the decoration of a single school building”.

            The cost to operate the College exceeded a million dollars for the first time in 1918.   The student-body was at 1570 and slowly increasing.  Many graduates wrote to the College telling about their experiences in the Army, especially in France, and all expressed their appreciation for the College having prepared them to cope with service experiences.  Harry Banks Jr., an outstanding organist and writer of music was hired  in 1918 to replace Thomas a’Becket who served the College for more than forty-five years.  Becket came to the College when the southwest room of Founder’s Hall was used for Chapel services.  The new High School was receiving applause from many sources and The American Architect  featured it in their magazine.  The Philadelphia Record on June 16 printed a full page article on the College.  Trade drafting and printing were two courses being given new emphasis.  In September 1918, the College and the city was subjected to a major epidemic of influenza.  The College had 903 cases and many of these cases resulted in other complications like pneumonia, which 53 boys contacted.  The College was quarantined and classes were not held for three weeks.  Eleven boys died from the epidemic or related illnesses.  The mortgage on the Alumni House at 1502 Poplar Street was settled, and in preparation of the 75th Anniversary, the alumni was preparing to build a Memorial Alumni House.   Dr. Herrick continued to press for the construction of an Armory, but because costs were war-inflated, this project was delayed. 

            The number of students in the College in 1919 was 1583, and it was costing $1.2 million to operate the College.  James E. Lennon, a Girard graduate, was elected President of the Select Council (today’s City Council), and in that capacity became a member of the Board of City Trusts.  The concept of Teaching Housemasters was introduced, but the position was restricted to ten teaching periods per week.  With the war over, many of the staff had returned including Col. Brookfield who returned to command the Battalion.  Most of the graduates were discharged; records revealed that 837 were called and 27 were known to have lost their lives.  A month after Congress granted the American Legion a Charter, the Stephen Girard Post No. 320 American Legion was officially organized on October 2, 1919 by James M. Hamilton a 1904 graduate.  Later Col. Hamilton commanded the College Battalion.  On Memorial Day, 1920, the Post presented the College a bronze plaque inscribed with the names of the 27 graduates who lost their lives in the war.

            William H. Kingsley, a graduate of the College, was appointed to the Board in 1920. These vocational courses were being  taught:  carpentry, drafting, electrical, forge, foundry, machine, pattern, printing, and commercial shops.  Herrick commented that in keeping with the desires of Stephen Girard, “Girard College is primarily a vocational school.”  The uniform worn by the American Army troops in WW I  became the uniform of the Battalion.  The old Civil War style  uniforms were saved to be used by the band.  New construction in the College was on hold due to excessive costs related to the post-war economy, but finally in 1922 construction of the Armory began.  The price of a bushel of potatoes was typical of the inflation:  $1.50 in 1919 to $4.96 in 1920.  Student’s clothing costs went from $50.75 in 1912 to $85.67 in 1919 and $111.06 in 1920.

            On January 1, 1923, the 75th Anniversary of the opening of the College, Board President Edwin S. Stuart addressed the students.  He reviewed the progress of the College since its opening and stated that from the original three million dollars when the College opened, the Estate grew to $5 million in 25 years, $11.7 million in 50 years, and $51 million in the 75th year.  He claimed that approximately $29 million had been spent in maintaining the College and its students since it opened.  He stated that during the 75 years, the College educated approximately eleven thousand orphan boys.

            On October 10, 1924, the Armory, which cost $1,342,769 to build, was dedicated.  The dedication program was both musical and military.  The Girard College choir and bands provided the music.  A drill and dress parade was reviewed by Colonel (later General) Robert M. Brookfield, Commandant of the Girard College Battalion and Colonel Marsh Stewart, Commandant of the U. S. Military Academy at West Point.

            The students were preparing an exhibit to be displayed at the United States Sesqui-Centennial in 1927.  The Girard Exhibit was to be a booth modeled after the Main Building, with pillars and gables.  In the booth, among many other things made by the students, was to be a glass case containing an exact model of the Main Building.[4]  The Battalion competed in a program opening the new Sesqui-Centennial Stadium  (Municipal Stadium)[5] in South Philadelphia  The Battalion was awarded first prize for the best military organization.  Radio was becoming an important part of the students education and home life and larger sets with big speakers were purchased for the buildings.  Girard sports teams were becoming very successful with very few losses in competitions with other schools.  Mechanical School training was so successful that some of the boys were working part-time for the College’s Chief Engineer.  The summer program was expanded because now nearly 500 hundred students remained in the College during the summer month.  Dr. Herrick was still trying to convince the Board to purchase a summer camp or farm to supplement the many existing programs.  The 122 feet light standards erected in 1887 were removed and replaced with more modern incandescent lamp-posts.

            The College population was 1530 in 1927 and $1.7 million was being spent to operate the College.  The Dining and Services building opened in September 1927.  Construction began in 1926 and it cost approximately $234,823 to construct.   George Dunkle, a graduate much loved by the students, was hired this year as a relief housemaster, and he went on to serve more then 50 years before retiring.  The new house arrangement, with each upper buildings containing 144 students, representing all grades of the high school, began this year.  The Girard soccer team had become the power team of the city, and although not in a league, the team beat both the champions of the inter-academic and public school leagues.  Dr. Herrick began to discuss the need of a new larger Chapel and buildings for the smallest of children.  This was the year that the first Girard News was published, a project of the high school English Department.  Two graduates received appointments to Annapolis and one to West Point.  Major General Douglas MacArthur, Commander of the Third Corps, reviewed the Battalion on Founder’s Day and spoke in the Chapel.  This is the year that the numbered buildings were given names.  The Alumni Association began their scholarship program in 1927.  Dr. Herrick made a comment in his 1927 President’s Report that would be appropriate in today’s newspapers.  He said the following: “Much is said  in criticism of the youth of our time.  Some boys are charged with being spoiled by having too many privileges, others are said to  be cramped by having too few.  Businessmen and employers complain of lack of ability and usefulness in the product of the present educational regime.  Some go so far as to assert that the youth of the present are heading the world toward certain disasters.”

          In 1928, Dr. Herrick’s building program was proceeding as was his quest for educational excellence.  The west-end buildings, and an annex to the High School were being constructed.  The west-end buildings were intended to accommodate 150 new boys.  The annex to the High School was to join the old middle school with the high school and it included a small gym and pool.  Attached to Lafayette, a dining room that fed 1208 boys, was divided into four dining rooms to be used by only 506 boys in the middle school.  Others were fed in the new Dining and Services building.

          The Director’s Room in Founder’s Hall was impressively refurbished in 1928.  The work was performed by the Chapman Decorative Company that altered the cabinets to provide space above the bookcases for lunettes painted by George Gibbs, a prominent Philadelphia artist.  The lunettes are 45 feet long by eight and half feet high.  They were painted in a studio, then hung.  They depict the life of Stephen Girard, namely “Mariner and Merchant”, “Citizen and Humanitarian”, “Banker and Patriot”, “Altruist and Benefactor”.  The last one, Earnest  Cunningham called “an apotheosis of  Girard’s life as he stands in front of Founder’s Hall welcoming to the College the fatherless boys of the generation since its opening”.  Cunningham explains that when the south wall lunette was being applied it was discovered that the area was smaller than the area of other three sides and the painting had to be cut to fit.  In the cutting, a girl’s head was cut off and that part of the canvas had to be repainted on the wall.  The students in the electrical department of the Mechanical School installed a new lighting system.  A critic, on seeing the finished room called it “the most dignified and stately Board Room in America”.

          Next on Dr. Herrick’s plans were a new Junior School, a new larger Chapel, a separate Library building and houses for the top administrators.  When all the construction was finished, Dr. Herrick wanted to increase the student body to 2000 because there still was a waiting list of 516 children.  A search was on to find a suitable place for a summer camp.  The Girard Hymn was  written in 1928 by Harold Barnes, and the Girard Prayer was written the same year by Ethel M. Duncan.  About one in five graduates was going on to college.  Athletic competition among the buildings was spirited since athletic uniforms and colors had been  secured for each of the upper buildings.

          In 1929 Dr. Herrick, continued his quest to hire the best educators.  Owen Evans, Superintendent of the Mechanical School, was among them.  He graduated from Harvard in the 1900 class and became the educational expert for the Carneige Corporation.  Dr. John Leydon, Head of the Romance Language Department was also hired this year; he graduated from Bowdoin College, taught at Penn Charter School, and was a principal in the Baltimore school system.  The teaching staff included graduates of twenty-two colleges, the greatest numbers coming from the University of Pennsylvania, Gettysburg College, Columbia and Cornell Colleges.

          Radio was becoming popular with the students, many building their own crystal sets.     The Bible was being taught “as a book of ethics”, and used for moral training.  The curriculum was again changed to include college prep for Liberal Arts colleges, and preparation for entrance to the Wharton School.  The enlarged Mechanical School had four courses:  4th-6th grades learned to make toys and use tools. 7th and 8th grades had six weekly hours of shop training in wood-working, printing, electrical, forge, foundry, machine, and mechanical drawing.  The third group was juniors and seniors who selected a trade and then were given intensive training in their choice in addition to receiving academic training.  The fourth group was the Intermediate (Teckers) School for boys who had not kept up with their academic training.  Seven boys from the Battalion were selected to attend Citizen’s Military Training Camp at Camp Meade during July and each was determined to be among the best-trained students in the camp, a credit to Girard College.  The school movie equipment needed to be updated to accommodate “talkie” movies, more frequently made in 1929.  Discussions were occurring about the need to build a separate Library.  It was thought that the Library should be removed from Founder’s Hall and that a fitting memorial to Stephen Girard would be to convert Founder’s Hall into a museum to properly display his relics, archives, furniture and College history.  Dr. R. Tait McKenzie was commissioned to design and build a memorial to Girardians who served in WW I.  The memorial, later moved, was erected between Mariner and Merchant Halls.  The Grecian dressed women in the statue represent Patriotism.  She is holding laurel and poppies, representing the living and the dead.  She is leaning over a youth who represents a Girard boy offering himself for service.  Traveling west, Dr. Herrick spoke to a group of former Pennsylvanians who had moved to Colorado, and while there, he visited Clayton College, in Denver, a school modeled after Girard College.

          In 1929, Building 7, (Junior School) was about to be demolished and replaced with a new more efficient, convenient, and modern building.  To many who had lived in the old No.7, it was a dismal relic built in 1877,  a poorly designed cluster of buildings, inefficient and occupying too much space.  The old building was of Victorian-Gothic design and really a cluster of five different buildings attached by corridors.  On March 9, 1931 the new junior school opened containing seven sections of 33 boys each.  This opening permitted the college to once again increase its enrollment, the first increase since 1890.  The building contained living quarters, a school, dining facilities, and a large auditorium.

          The Board of Directors, in July 1929, purchased  a tract of land in Monroe and Pike Counties, 19 miles from Stroudsburg, to serve as a site for a summer camp for Girard College. A contract was awarded to an East Stroudsburg contractor to build the new camp to accommodate 150 boys and staff.  It officially opened on August 10, 1929, when the first 109 boys spent a week there.  It cost $4909 to purchase and construct the camp.  The camp was enlarged in the early 1940s and in the summer of 1947, 471 boys attended the camp.  That year the cost to operate the camp was one percent of the yearly College’s expenses yet, in a questionable decision,  the camp was closed in 1951 and sold to the City of Philadelphia in 1953 for $133,000.  It became Camp William Penn, a city camp, and in 1990, when the city was strapped for money, they attempted unsuccessfully to sell it for $7.5 million.  It is still used by the city and the College pays to send their students during the summer.

          In  May 1930  the Board authorized construction of three executives houses.  In 1932 the new residences of the President, Vice President, and Superintendent of Household were occupied.  The cost to build the three executive residences was $102,000.  That permitted Building No. 1, Allen Hall, to be converted to dormitories.  At first it was to be used for post-graduate students but there weren’t enough of them to fill the building.  Then it was used for students in the first year of high school.  In 1937 it was decided to use it to house the graduating class in apartment type arrangements, and Mr. and Mrs Emil Zarella were assigned to care for the students and prepare them for life outside the walls.  The graduating class of January 1938 was the first graduating class to have been assigned to the converted  building.

          On January 1, 1930, 150 new students moved into the House Group, six new buildings at the west  end.  One of the most outstanding features of the new “cottages” for the youngest children was the tower that stood at the west end of  Main Road.  The tower could be seen from the Girard Avenue Bridge.  The Philadelphia Real Estate Magazine featured photographs of the West End buildings.  The College considered replacing the nearby wall with railings so that the buildings could be appreciated from outside of the College.  As the College population decreased after World War II, these buildings were no longer needed so the were closed and fell into disrepair.  Before they were 50 years old, they were demolished.[6]

            In 1930, the lodges were separated farther apart and adjacent gates replaced the high wall.  The operating cost per year of the College was approaching $2 million and the cost per student was $1160.  On March 9, 1930 boys began moving into the new Junior School, built for $538,000, on the site of the demolished Building 7.  Its total capacity was 396 boys, and it had rooms for the staff and service help and a 600 seat auditorium.  In 1931 the post-graduate course was introduced.  “Under its workings the worthy student who graduates from Girard a year or more before he is eighteen years of age will be allowed to remain in the College and take advanced work.”  Six academic courses were offered that enabled a student to earn college credits.  Twenty graduates of this year’s class were the first to enter the Post High School.  Teachers from the University of Pennsylvania were brought in to teach these classes.  The students were housed on the third floor of the new Junior School.

          In September 1930, the Board authorized an architectural competition to construct a new Chapel.  Ten architects competed and their drawings were displayed at the downtown Architects Club. An impressive judging panel including the Dean of the Fine Arts School at Yale University, and the Professor of Design at the University Of Pennsylvania School of Fine Arts judged the plans and selected the architectural firm of Thomas, Martin & Kirkpatrick and Turner Construction Company to be the contractor.  Construction began on May 21, 1931 and continued until March 1933.  Subsequently, major changes were made substituting Indiana limestone for Vermont marble and the savings were so significant that the excess money was re-appropriated to construct the Library.  The design of the Chapel is one of Philadelphia's architectural gems, standing 116 feet high with a capacity to seat 2400 people.  The Chapel was dedicated on March 30th, 1933 and the principal speaker was Justice Owen J. Roberts of the United State Supreme Court.  He had been a Board member and Chairman of the Finance Committee that authorized construction of the Chapel.  Its outer walls are brick, veneered with Indiana limestone.  Special acoustical stone was used on the interior and in 1932 it represented the most advanced state of acoustical quality.  The inside columns, although appearing like marble, are made of Scagliola, "marble imitation plaster”.  The pipe organ, constructed by E.M. Skinner of Boston, was the third largest in the world at the time.  It has more than 100 stops, a four manual keyboard and its 6587 pipes are hidden in the black and gold leaf coated ceiling.  The organ console was rebuilt in 1986 at a cost of nearly a million dollars.  The Chapel is a non-denominational building that contains art work depicting important scriptural events of many faiths. Dr. Herrick  spoke to the Ginger Association, in 1940, about the construction of the new Chapel.  He said that the old chapel was too small for the expanded student-body so they invited nationally known architects to compete for what was estimated to be a $2 million job.  In July 1931, demolition of the old chapel began.  Shortly thereafter its organ was disassembled, packed and stored on the third floor of Founder’s Hall.  Originally, Chapel services were conducted in the Main building, but, as the student body increased, it became necessary, in 1877, to construct a Chapel that had a seating capacity of 1600.  It included a stained glass window picturing Dr. Allen, donated by the Alumni.  The last service in the old Chapel occurred on Founder's Day 1931.  Demolition of the old Chapel began following Founder’s Day 1931, and part of the Armory was temporally used as a Chapel.  Dedication of the new Chapel occurred  on March 30th, 1933..  Total construction costs were $952,248.

          For many years, students attended Chapel services six days a week.  The services consisted of Scripture readings and prayer.  Girard boys probably knew more about the Bible than children who attended religious schools.  In addition to the formal Chapel services, there were smaller groups of Bible study.  Here are a few of the topics they discussed:  Devotion---Ruth who chose a new home; Self-deceit--Saul, the king that did not govern himself; Fidelity--David, the boy who was true to his trust; Repentance---David, the king who triumphed over himself; Divided Allegiance---Rehoboam or Jereboam; Loyalty to God---Elijah, the champion of true religion; Faithfulness--Amos, the Herdsman Preacher, etc.  The list covered 24 subjects.[7]

          By using the limestone instead of marble, the bids for the Chapel were $400,000 less than expected so that money was used to construct the Library.  The firm of Tilton and Githens, well known designers of many libraries, was chosen to design the new library.  The Library would be of “Vermont marble above a pink Deer-Island granite base.”  Its Greek Ionic features were intended to compliment the Corinthian Founder’s Hall and the Doric High School. The Library was dedicated on May 11, 1933 and the principal speaker was Joseph L. Wheeler, Librarian of Baltimore’s Pratt Free Library.  Morton Githens, one of the architects of the Library also spoke and paid tribute to his partner, Edward L. Tilton, who died before the Library was completed.  Board member, Mr. Kingsley, paid tribute to Mary Lynch who was the librarian for the first forty-nine years of the College.  The building was heralded as “the last word in school library design”.

          Mike Feldman graduated from Girard College in 1930 and went on to serve with distinction on President Kennedy’s White House staff and remained as Deputy Special Council to President Johnson.  In 1962 Feldman was sent as a presidential representative to confer with Ben-Gurion, then leader of Israel.  Previous to his White House assignment, Feldman acted as council to several Senate committees.[8]

          By November 1931, the enrollment at the College had reached 1717, and it was expected that it would rise to 1900 (It never got that high).  In September 1931, 181 “newbies” were admitted and the list of potential applicants was growing rapidly.  In addition to local boys, there were newbies from as far south as Birmingham, Alabama and as far west as Michigan.  Many students were from up-state Pennsylvania and some were from New York City.  That October, 264 boys were summoned for testing and interviews and only 101 were selected.

            In 1932, Mr.(later Dr.) E. Newbold Cooper, was hired to be Superintendent of Elementary Schools.  He had been Principal of Riverton School in New Jersey.  He was a graduate of Haverford College and the Univ. of Pennsylvania, and he was finishing his Doctorate at Rutgers.  The depression finally was felt in the College in 1932, and austere financial practices were implemented that saved $250,000.  Staff salaries were reduced, purchasing of clothing and supplies was curtailed, and some school trips were eliminated.  Although the College got its summer camp, Dr. Herrick was still asking the Board to purchase and set-up a country, agricultural branch to be operated by the College students with fewer academic skills.  The depression continued into 1933 causing addition staff cuts and, students were assigned chores  of the former custodial and kitchen workers.  A chapter of the National Honor Society was established this year.  The entire campus was landscaped and “permanent planting of flowering and decorative shrubs in the circle replaced the tulip bulbs and annual flower planting------.”

            In 1933,  year John T. Windrim resigned as architect for the Board of City Trust.  James H. followed by son, John T., were the architects for the Estate for many years.  James H. was among the first 100 boys who entered the College and he later designed the Building 7, Good Friends, Lafayette, and the Middle School.  Both father and son designed the High School.   John T. designed the Armory, the Dining & Services Building, the House Group (West End), the Junior School, and the executive houses.  He also redesigned the Mechanical School.

            In 1934, the student population was 1724 and plans were being made to increase to 1900, the maximum number the college could house.[9]  More than half, 894 of the 1724, came from Philadelphia.  Nearly 250 boys were from Luzerne, Lackawanna, and Schuylkill Counties, large coal mining counties that produced many orphans by mining accidents.  Nearly every county in the state was represented in the College.

            In the interest of economy, more positions were abolished in 1934  including the Vice President.   A position of Assistant to the President was created in 1934 after the death of Dr. Jameson, Vice President of the College.  Now that all the major construction was completed, attention turned toward improving the playgrounds and seeking ways to reduce operating expenses.  Karl R. Friedmann, who later became the President, was hired in 1935 to teach mathematics.  He was a Dartmouth graduate and earned a Masters at Columbia. [10]

            In 1936, a branch of the Library was established in the High School to make it more accessible during after dinner study periods.  Housemasters replaced governesses in Lafayette.  It was thought that boys 13 to 15 years old were “too vigorous for women to control”.  Until 1936 all Girard boys wore high black shoes and stockings.  This year low black shoes were purchased to be used on special occasions by boys over thirteen years old.

            In January 1936, Dr. Herrick announced his intentions to retire at the end of the year.  He had already stayed, at the Board’s request, three years beyond the retirement age of 67.  His replacement, Dr. Merle M. Odgers, was introduced at the annual Alumni dinner in April.   Dr. Herrick never stopped improving the College.  Examine the following table to appreciate the number of buildings constructed while he was President.  All were outstanding contributions to the excellence of the College.  When he retired his legacy was an outstanding educational institute that had few equals.  He had a progressive image of what Girard College should be and how its students were to be trained and educated.  When he became President, only twenty-five percent of the students stayed to graduate, but when he retired that figure had increased to seventy-five percent. Volumes could be written about Dr. Herrick’s accomplishments as President and each of his President’s Reports is a Girard College history lesson.  He developed Girard College from an outstanding school to a world-renowned extraordinary school.  His achievements are modestly reviewed in detail in the 1935 President’s Report, his final report and, an important document in Girard College’s recorded history.

 

DR. HERRICK'S BUILDING PROGRAM

Building

Completed

High School

1916

Armory

1924

Dining & Services

1927

High School  Annex

1928

Three Staff Houses

1931

House Group (West End)

1931

Junior School

1931

Chapel

1933

Library

1933

 

 



[1]It was directly behind the center of Founder’s Hall and if you look closely you can see the newer stone that was placed in the opening.

[2] Steel & Garnet Nov. 1910

[3] It is probable that the name Hum derived from his name, especially since his ginger’s were called Hum Muds.

[4] The model still exists and is displayed in Founder’s Hall. Some believe Thomas U. Walter, the architect of the original College, made this model.  Many of us believe that students made the model, perhaps for this display.

[5]Used for many years as the home field of the Philadelphia Eagles and for most of the Army/Navy football games.  It was demolished in 1997 to make room for a new indoor stadium, home of the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team and Seventy-Sixers basketball team.

[6] Recent plans include building new buildings in the same vicinity to be used for elementary school children.

[7]Steel & Garnet Aug. 1930

[8]Steel & Garnet Jan 1964

[9]The depression and later Social Security implementation prevented Girard College from the goal of 1900 children.

[10]The writer entered Girard College on September 5, 1935 and after one month I became one of the reports medical statistics having contracted lobar pneumonia, a frequent illness in the College



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