Polytechnic High School 1921


(From The Yearbooks)




As long as Polytechnic Alumni of days gone by can remember, the Journal has been issued semi-annually by the Organized Student Body. At the beginning of the great war, when our city, like every other on the face of the earth, began to devote its energies to the support of the warring powers, and our Student Body, upset by the departure of many of its members to fight, was unable to devote its attention to the management of the Journal, the Senior Class of June ‘18 took charge of the book. . . printed without advertisements. . . the Student Body has again resumed control [with] a self-supporting publication [with advertisements]. . .

The Student Body of Polytechnic has this term been more successful than ever before, not only in athletics, but in every activity in which it has entered. A school paper surpassing any in the city in size and quality has been published regularly every two weeks. Plans have been approved for our Stadium and construction will soon be underway. . .



The voters of the school showed their good judgment in the selection of their officers. In our President James Rolph III [note added: the namesake son of San Francisco’s then Mayor], we find a worker thinking only of Poly. While we were enjoying our two weeks’ vacation, Jimmie was practicing oral expression before the Parks Commission. This resulted in the granting of a Stadium to the schools of he city. One of the largest rallies ever held here was in celebration of this event, with the Mayor and many distinguished visitors present.

Coleman Francis, the athletic manager, may be called a prince of a fellow. All athletic affairs were carefully looked after by ‘Smoke’ and the coaches.

[note added: photos of the officers show that Mr. Francis was one of the few African-Americans to attend Poly at that time. The 1920 census shows his family living at 1315 - 40th Avenue: dad Joseph age 60 was born in California of parents born in Pennsylvania, and he worked as a railroad clerk; mom Laura, a dressmaker age 45 was also from California, with an English father and a New York mother; Coleman was age 16 and ‘attending school’; sister Lemount was age 13. Sadly, the California death index shows that hs father Joseph S died on 3 October 1920, age 60 in San Francisco county, wife L W.]



Though our school is referred to as the Polytechnic High School we have twelve young persons varying in age from three months to four years. Rather young to go to high school you say. Yes, but they attend only occasionally, for they are charity babies adopted by the school.

Heading this group are four-year-old Albert and Arthur, referred to as the ‘two twins’. They were introduced to their eighteen hundred foster parents at a rally on November 2, and won the hearts of all. Arthur announced with infinite disdain that the yell leaders were acting silly, but he must have changed his opinion judging by his efforts to imitate the yell leader, and especially to capture his huge megaphone at the Lowell-Poly game.

Patricia and Dorothy, three and four months old, belong to the Household Arts Department, as does Hattie, ‘the Campbell Kid’. Gymmie belongs to the Physical Education Department, while Louis Matthew, ‘Math’ for short, looks upon the Mathematics Department as his godfather. Mr. Ingelow’s class claims little French Marie, who is just twenty months old. Buddy, Soledad, Eleanor and Louis, who is red-headed and a year old, are being fed according to scientific formulae and looked after generally by the Physiology classes.

This matter of adopting babies has created more widespread interest and enthusiasm than anything that has occurred this term. This is surely an illustration of the best kind of school spirit. We are proud of having the highest record among the city schools with our twelve babies and we are proud of our babies. Can you blame us?? Look at their pictures!!



One of the outstanding achievements of this term is the building of the rifle range. . . New course prescribed by the government includes topography, military map-reading, the science of leadership, marksmanship and other subjects.



In August 1915, when Polytechnic moved into the building it now occupies, there was no music department in the school. Early in 1916, it was learned that Mr. Charles Lamp, who was at that time a science teacher, was also a professional musician. Thereupon, Mr.. Addicott requested him to develop an orchestra.

Mr. Lamp sent out a call for players and obtained ten violinists, five cornetists, six pianists and one clarinetist. These numbers were sufficient but not properly divided. Funds from various sources provided the necessary instruments; proceeds from a candy sale purchased a clarinet, the Mothers’ Club furnished a French horn and Mr. Lamp bought an additional French horn, two violas and a string bass. Then two pianists were interested in cellos and instructed by Mr. Lamp during lunch periods; two cornetists purchased the French horns; two violinists were shown how to play violas and two other pianists were taught the string bass. In this manner Mr. Lamp arranged a complete string section.

To produce a balanced brass section, one student was taught the trombone. The reed section which at first consisted of one clarinet was soon augmented when two students took up the flute. Then Mr. Lamp secured a set of tympanies. This was the first attempt to balance a high school orchestra, and almost immediately the Polytechnic orchestra was known in all the Bay Cities.

A large number of students registered. . . by the third term, three classes were organized, beginning, intermediate and advanced. The R.O.T.C. band was introduced in the spring term of 1919, thereby crediting Polytechnic with three orchestras and two bands. Each term the Drama Class with the assistance of the orchestra gives a play. Funds derived are used to purchase instruments and music. This term the orchestra gave a very successful concert. The proceeds from the musical went to supply much needed musical equipment.

The Polytechnic orchestra in April 1920 won first prize at the Annual Orchestral Competition at the University of California. The band in September 1920 won a prize of $200 at the Amateur Band Contest held at the State Fair in Sacramento.

THE DANCE ORCHESTRA- At last the dream of many a Polyite has come true. Polytechnic has a dance orchestra . . . to furnish music for school dances. Poly’s ‘jazzy five’ are Rusty Minchin with his saxophone, Cutie Krieger with his trumpet, Acrobatic Santisteban with his drums, Jazzy Knotts ‘tickling the ivories’, and Bob Escamilla with his baby fiddle.

OUR JAZZ QUARTET- Poly’s Jazz Quartet is one of the best of its kind in the San Francisco high schools, under the careful instruction of Miss Robertson. Its members are Fernando Ybarra, the well known ‘Caruso of Polytechnic’; Max Williams, bass; Louise Aguirre, tenor; and Bert Person, baritone.



The Mechanical Arts Department was, as usual, the most popular one among the boys in the school during the past semester. The machine shop in Room H was the most sought after. . . New machines have been installed and finished products for the Board of Education are turned out regularly.

In the foundry, located in Room J, a small group of lockers has been installed and preparations are being made for showers and washing facilities. . . Certain desk parts which cannot be purchased [will be] cast in our foundry.

Woodwork and pattern making shops were full of Freshmen and Sophomores. . . In the electric shop new and improved radio apparatus has been installed and many interesting experiments have been performed. The forge shop had its usual overflow at the beginning of the term. . . An advanced class in blacksmithing is held under Mr. McTiernan and some very fine work has been completed.



Service!! This seems to be the watchword in our school cafeteria. It is the aim of the management to provide the greatest amount and variety of well-cooked nourishing food, served in the most attractive manner, all for the smallest possible cost to each patron. That the students appreciate the results is proved by the ever-increasing numbers who pass through the doors every fifth and sixth period. Though some still persist in eating three orders of pudding plus pie a la mode, the majority choose hot, substantial dishes. Candy is of course a universal favorite, as is also the ubiquitous hot dog, so the counters in the hallway do a thriving business.



The greatest athletic victory won in San Francisco in many years was won, not on the athletic field, but on the field of diplomacy when James Rolph, Polytechnic’s Student Body President, succeeded in putting over the stadium project. It is now assumed that San Francisco will soon have a $100,000 stadium built opposite Polytechnic on the present site of the park nursery. Polytechnic has long coveted the natural amphitheatre just acquired and has cherished the dream of an athletic field there, but this dream seemed destined to remain in a purely shadowy state, so many obstacles lay in the way of its realization.

But finally the person appeared who possessed a combination of qualities which proved irresistible, Jimmie Rolph. He gained the sympathetic co-operation of Mr. Ralph McLean of the Board of Supervisors, and of Mr. Humphrey and Mr. Felishhacker of the Park Commission [note added: it is also worth mentioning that Jimmie’s father, James Rolph Jr., was at the time serving as Mayor of San Francisco]. These four were able to convince Mr. John McLaren, the park superintendent, that the nursery which made Golden Gate Park one of the most famous in the world by starting little trees on their way to become big trees, now had a greater service to perform, that is, to help little men on their way to become big men. A suitable location for the nursery was finally found, and after many conferences, the matter was settled.

The site of the proposed stadium had already been surveyed under the direction of Mr. Mohr, and plans had been drawn under the supervision of Mr. Walker. These plans, which have been approved by the Park Commission and the Board of Education, call for a quarter-mile track with a 220-yard straightway, football field, baseball field, basketball courts, tennis courts, drill ground, and seats for several thousand spectators.

To all who helped along the plan for the stadium, the schools of San Francisco owe a debt of gratitude. Because of its location, Polytechnic is, of course, especially fortunate, and therefore, doubly pleased. The project was given a spectacular sendoff at a great stadium rally which our Mayor said was the most exciting he ever attended. On this occasion the entire student body was present, and many distinguished guests sat upon the rostrum.

The gathering overflowed with enthusiasm as the speakers pledged their support to the undertaking. Among those who spoke were Mr. Addicott [Principal of Polytechnic], Mrs. Sanborn of the Board of Education, Mayor Rolph, Mr. Ralph McLean of the Board of Supervisors, Mr. Wm. Humphreys of the Park Commission, Mr. Clark of Lowell, Dr. Hatch of Crocker, and James Rolph III of our own school. Mr. John McLaren, superintendent of Golden Gate Park, and Mr. Herbert Fleishhacker of the Park Commissioners, were unable to be present, but pledged their support. Mrs. Sanborn told of the God-given right of a child to play and of her happiness in seeing the entire city cooperate to promote athletics and outdoor exercise.



American football has once more come into its own in the San Francisco high schools [back in December 1919, Polytechnic’s ‘football’ team was playing Rugby, although Commerce had already switched to the ‘American’ game]. Of the seven schools entered in the S. F. A. L. [San Francisco Athletic League], Polytechnic is credited with the possession of one of the best teams on the field, having lost but one game this season, and that was to the plucky, experienced bunch from Lick-Wilmerding. [note added: does ‘experienced’ mean that Lick began playing American football before Poly did??; in December 1919, both Lick and Poly were playing rugby; we have no info for December 1920] . . .

The Poly-Lowell game was the real big game of the season. Not only the student bodies of both schools were out en masse, but it seemed that all the alumni of both schools and all the other schools were there too. Between 9,500 and 10,000 rooters were on the stands to see the battle and to add to the clamor. Poly kicked off and then the contest commenced, both teams fighting hard and strong, only to end the first half with a scoreless tie.

The beginning of the third quarter found Lowell on Poly’s 15-yard line. Captain Kratz dropped back and kicked the pigskin squarely between our goal posts, putting the Red and White boys in the lead by three points. An intercepted forward pass at the beginning of the fourth quarter started Poly on a triumphant march toward their opponent’s goal. With numerous line bucks Poly had the ball on Lowell’s 8-yard line. Smoke Francis carried it three times for slight gains; then on the fourth down he drove through the line for a touchdown. Charlie Packer was right there to convert, making our boys victors with a 7-3 score.



In looking over the roster of the graduates of Polytechnic High School, one may find many names distinguished in almost every field of honest endeavor. Here are just a few.

Adolph N. Sutro of the class of 1909 gained a most distinguished record in France as a machine gunner of the First Division; he is a veteran of five battles. Lester Stone, also of ‘09 is engaged with his father in the business of shipbuilding. The assistant in the Part-Time Educational Bureau of San Francisco is Raymond Gunton, who was one of the best men on Poly’s athletic teams in 1910. Louis Roncoviere ‘11, son of the Superintendent of Schools, is practicing medicine in San Francisco. In the mathematics department of Harvard is Shirley Quimby ‘11, teaching the mysteries of that science.

Alan F. Bonnalie ‘12 served in the aviation section, was decorated by both the British and American governments, and is now an instructor in aeronautics in the extension division of the University of California. Curt N. Schvette, also of he class of 1912, is with the U.S. Bureau of Mines. W. Lance Butler ‘13 is now with an aeronautic factory at Keyport, New Jersey. Herbert Jansen ‘13 has spent the last two years in Shanghai, China, with an exporting and importing firm. In the same work is robert Gill, well-known for his athletic prowess while at Poly.

James DeWitt, art editor of the June ‘19 Journal, is now editor of the Pictorial at U.C. Harold Tiemroth, also of ‘19, has spent one year as a Plebe at Annapolis, and is now known as a Youngster. The latter part of his first year was spent routing Portugal, Denmark, Sweden and England.

Sidney Hawkins of June ‘20 is at the Lycee de Jeunes Filles at Tours, France. While at Stanford, she received one of the exchange scholarships given to promote friendliness between France and the United States. She left home in August and will return some time next year. Moose Fawke and Harold Toso are still at Santa Clara, where both are making good on the football team. Phil Bettens is still at U. C. and is still playing tennis. As he holds many championships he should have no difficulty in making the Freshman team.

Christian Niemann, June ‘21, is traveling in Europe. He has visited the headquarters of the French and English troops in Germany, and passed through Berlin, Leipzig, Frankfort, Geneva and other equally interesting cities. He intends to go from Paris to London by air. From London he will turn his face homeward and arrive here some time in the winter. A recent visitor at Poly was Charlotte Fisher of June ‘21. She is planning to tour Europe in the near future. Vivian McNab, who was second vice-president of the student body last term is also planning a tour of the Mediterranean, and is now studying French preparatory to her trip.



In the earlier days of Polytechnic’s student organization much of the excitement of elections was missing, for the president and other directors of the board were chosen each term by executive officers of the previous semester. In the spring of 1907, during the presidency of Jack Northrup, the Australian ballot was introduced. The first president elected under the new system was Laurence Parker, who was re-elected the following term. He was succeeded by Frank Spencer. George Frates, captain of the football team, was elected president for the spring of 1909. He is now manager of the Homeopathic Drug Store in this city.

There is no record of student body meetings from that time until 1913 when Paul Hollister occupied the chair. Hollister has spent the last few years in Mexico. Poly and her alumni wish to extend to him their sincere sympathy in the recent death of his wife, who will be remembered as Bessie Currier.

George Wale, who was president in ‘14, has just returned from two years of agricultural work in the rice lands of Colusa County. Leonard Mentzer, who occupied the chair at the meetings of the board during the fall of 1914, is now working in this city. Russell Harris was president in the spring of ‘15. He is now working in Oakland. Frederic Barker, who succeeded Harris, entered U. C. to study law. Paul Mohr, president in ‘16, is now a Senior at U. C. He is a Y.M.C.A. secretary there and has charge of the Freshmen.

Sterling Cloughley was elected to the chief office in ‘16, and soon after graduating entered Annapolis. After finishing there he was assigned to duty at Portland, Oregon, where he now is. Jimmy Hammill, president in ‘17, is making a wonderful record t U. C. He has held numerous important positions and is now manager of the Pictorial. George Wiles presided during the fall term of ‘17. He is now attending Stanford. William Gallagher, who succeeded him, is now a Delta Tau Delta at U.C. Leonard Geldert, who followed in Gallagher’s footsteps, is now doing Junior work at U. C.

Bruce Wale, who was president in ‘19, has not lost his stentorian voice. He is in business with his father in the firm of the Wale Printing Company, and is proud of the fact that he is a full-fledged voter. Walter Terry, who settled a few of he usual Student Body battles in the fall of ‘19, is now with Langley and Michaels, wholesale druggists.

William Tomlinson of ‘20 is among those working in the city. Rizal Musser, also of ‘20, has returned to Stanford after working half a year with his father in the oil fields of Coalinga. He is one of the lucky ones chosen for the Freshman team down the peninsula. Roderick Cassidy, last term’s president, states that he is a retired business man, having retired from the Western Meat Company’s employment. He is now devoting much time and energy to his work with the de Molay organization.

 [note added: de Molay is part of the Masonic organization]

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