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Remembering St. Paulís College and High Schoolís Past

 
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roger.pape
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Joined: 17 Mar 2009
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Location: Liverpool, NY

PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2010 8:00 pm    Post subject: Remembering St. Paulís College and High Schoolís Past Reply with quote

I have decided to start a separate forum dedicated to reminiscences of St. Paulís College/High School, particularly in its earlier years as a part of the Missouri Synodís prep school system. Since its early beginnings under the leadership of Rev. Biltz, St. Paulís College has been a significant asset in the Concordia area for well over a century. It has provided a number of memories, not only for those of us who attended the school, but also for the community in general. Because of the number of graduates spread throughout Synod, one frequently encounters someone with ties to Concordia at many locations throughout the U.S. This includes a number of local Concordia area residents who entered the Churchís service as pastors and teachers as well as many of the girls who married some of the students as a result of their relationships during their school years.

Perhaps some of you might establish contact with some of your former classmates. Not long ago I got in contact with an old family friend, Delbert Rinne, who worked at Concordia Creamery while a student at St. Paulís. You may have spotted him in the ĎScenes around towní clip of my fatherís old movies posted on this website. If any of you are interested in what he is doing now, check out the Volunteers page of the website for Heitís Point Lutheran Camp (at http://www.heitspoint.com/) where is he spending his ďretirementĒ years.

Memories include the College Day celebrations and Mission Festivals held in the quadrangle of the campus, as well as the many concerts and chorus tours. Now that basketball season is here, who could forget the local rivalry between the Blue Jays and Orioles, and the annual All-Concordia Tournament.

Surely some of you have some favorite story to tell about the faculty at the school. They were not only very talented but had their idiosyncracies. In my years at St. Paulís at the end of the 1940s and early 1950s, they included Professors Norman Gienapp, Lorenz "Coach" Wahlers, Oscar ďButtsĒ Walle, Lando Otto and Emil Weis to name some.

Speaking of Prof. Emil Weis, he might be considered one of the most unforgettable characters. He was well known as an outstanding English teacher and oratory/debate team coach. He brought fame to Concordia when one of his students, Paul Heine, won the American Legion National Oratorical Contest (and Ken Frerking the following year). Of course, that event has bittersweet memories because of the devastating fire that followed the celebration of Paulís victory at Central Park on Memorial Day. (I believe they stopped using railroad flares as torches on the parade wagons after that.)

Prof. Weis was also the athletic director at St. Paulís for some years. As a basketball coach, he was known for using the weave maneuver. That was long before Pete Carril perfected it at Princeton.

Emil was also an avid outdoorsman, hunter, and fisherman. He was a frequent fishing companion of my father on trips to the Ozarks and the lakes of northern Minnesota. Perhaps my most memorable image of Prof. Weis occurred during my sophomore year at St. Paulís. It was during an English class in the Quinta classroom on the north side of the old administration building (Moeller Hall), just before classes were moved to Baepler Hall and that creaky old building was torn down. Prof. Weis stood by the window with his elbows on the sill, propping up his chin while he watched a flock of geese migrating overhead. He then looked down at his hairy arms and, perhaps making fun of an evolutionary theory, said ďDo you know why the hair on your forearms curves back toward your elbow? Thatís because monkeys sat out in the rain with their arms holding up their chin and the raindrops would bend the hairs downward.Ē
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roger.pape
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Joined: 17 Mar 2009
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Location: Liverpool, NY

PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 3:29 pm    Post subject: Life around St. Paulís Campus Reply with quote

Being a residence school since its early beginning, the St. Paulís campus was essentially a community unto itself. Whether that was by design to keep the students focused on their studies, shielded from outside distractions, or whether simply for their convenience is not clear. However, a student didnít really have to leave the campus throughout the school year (except to attend church services at St. Paulís Church). Of course, those participating in extracurricular activities, as they were encouraged to do, would travel to other locations for various events.

In the early years, the campus had its own power generation system and its own water system consisting of a deep well and water tower. While the entire area of Concordia was known for its high-mineral sulphur wells, the well water at St. Paulís College was particularly notorious for it strong rotten egg smell. The faucets and water fountains all had a mineral crust on them. Those of us who grew up in the area were accustomed to the sulphur smell and taste, I always felt sorry for the students who came to school from areas with better water. It must have been a difficult adjustment in the first few months there. That added to the homesickness and may well have resulted in a few dropouts. They probably never did really adjust to it.

There was even a hospital on the southwest corner of the campus, across the alley from Prof. Schoedeís house. I understand that it was a very busy place in some of the early years. The school was plagued by several epidemics. Usually, one of the professorís wives would serve as the school nurse.

Then, there was the old dining hall on the west end of the campus, with the "cookies" living on the second floor above the dining area. A good portion of the food was donated by the people in the community. The local Ladies Aids would help prepare some of it. You can see an example of them cooking apple butter in one of the movie clips on the Video page of the website. I can also remember baskets of goods, such as apples and raw turnips, being set on the porch for students to take as they left the hall.

There was a school store in the basement of the old administration building when I attended St. Paulís. In addition to school supplies, it provided between hours refreshments for the students. The students that ran the store, like Hubie Beck and Rich Ossing, were referred to as the ďstore JewsĒ. People werenít all bent out of shape by political correctness back in those days.
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roger.pape
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Location: Liverpool, NY

PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:48 am    Post subject: Spitz and Rosin Reply with quote

When I listed some of the professors at St. Paulís College during my era in the posting above, I forgot to mention the Spitzís and Rosinís.

Prof. Lewis Spitz taught at St. Paulís for a number of years before moving to Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. His children were also associated with St. Paulís through the years. His son Lewis W. Spitz became a historian and world-renowned expert on Martin Luther. He taught history at the University of Missouri during the years I attended MU. The obituary of Lewis Jr. can be found at Lewis Spitz obit.

Daughter Dorothy married Wilbert Rosin. Iím sure that many of you remember Wilbert Rosin and his brother Walter, both having taught at St. Paulís College. Wilbert also started the Chorister group for underclassmen. One humorous incident that I recall occurred one day in our Civics class. Prof. Rosin noted that the Shah of Iran had divorced his wife and remarried, hoping for a male heir. Prof. Rosin opined that the Shah did not understand genetics, that it was the fault of the male for not having a male heir. Since the first child was a female, there was little chance that he could change that by remarrying. When he made that claim, I looked over to Orville Bodenstab and said ďDo you believe that?Ē (You need to know the Bodenstab family to understand that remark.)

The obituary for Dorothy Spitz Rosin can be found at Dot Rosin obit

(Courtesy of Virtus Bodenstab.)
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