click on photo to enlarge
The first person to correctly identify the site in the photo above will be recognized as a truly perceptive scholar. Please send your responses to: Info@downingtownareahistoricalsociety.org
Prank in Archive in 1920 worked again in Hist-O-Gram
Perhaps you recall reading the news item noted below, which was published in July 9, 2015 Hist-O-Gram. That article was based on a news report in the December 23, 1920 edition of the Downingtown Archive about a game allegedly played on December 22, 1920.
The Minquas Fire Company’s gym was the scene of a college basketball game between Penn State and Dartmouth, which the Nittany Lions won by a 48-34 score. Charlie Way of Downingtown, who had been named the left halfback on Walter Camp’s 1920 All-American football team, and Glenn Killinger, who later became a legendary football coach at West Chester State College, were two star football players who also played on Penn State’s basketball squad. It was an important game for Dartmouth because the Big Green wanted to avenge its football team’s 14-7 loss to Penn State two months earlier, when Killinger’s 52-yard return of an intercepted Dartmouth pass, sewed up the victory. That contest, billed at the time as “the greatest football game in the eastern part of the country,” was played before 12,000 fans in the new Beaver Field, whose wooden bleachers could only accommodate 5,000 spectators.
Frankly, we were pretty impressed with the “fact” that two major colleges teams would travel all the way to little Downingtown, PA, to play a basketball game in the gym on the second floor of the Minquas fire hall. And they made that trip just three days before Christmas!
Of course, we realized that college basketball 95 years ago was small potatoes compared to the wildly popular sport it is today. But, after all, we thought, the information had been published in a newspaper; so it had to be true.
Subsequently, however, the story still didn’t pass the “smell test.” So, we contacted a Dartmouth grad, John Bousum, Class of 1960, who has lived in the Downingtown area all of his life. Not one to dawdle, John immediately sent an email to Dartmouth’s Dean of the College, seeking confirmation on the alleged game in Downingtown.