Hamilton Township Alumni Association History: 1911-1966
Article by Linda Dillman, president of the Hamilton Township Alumni Association
The Hamilton Township Alumni Association was founded in the early part of the 20th century and held its first annual alumni banquet in 1911. The earliest available association meeting minutes date back nearly 90 years and were recorded by Secretary Beatrice Dill, Class of 1923. She documented the activities of the organization’s 14th annual spring banquet held on May 30th, 1925.
“Eighty-seven were present,” wrote Beatrice. “Thirty-one Alumni members and twenty-one in the graduating class, the largest ever taken into our Association…the program committee put forth much effort to provide us with good entertainment in which they proved successful.
“Following the program, the class was put through a severe initiation after which time came the dance. At the hour of twelve, everyone departed feeling the evening had been a real pleasure.”
The 1925 banquet was held in the high school auditorium. The building, locally known as the Miner station school because it was located near the railway line at the corner of Bixby and Rohr Roads, was constructed in 1918. Today it serves as a private apartment complex, but is little changed from its days as a school building.
In 1926, the 15th annual banquet was moved to the Southern Hotel in Columbus and seniors were again invited, an ongoing tradition that would last until the mid-1960s.
There was a brief period of time, from 1943-1945, when the association discontinued operations due to World War II. In 1947, the secretary-treasurer elected position was changed to a $25 a year paid position when members voted to make the job a permanent one.
The following year, 161 people attended the 1948 banquet, which was held in the “newer” 1939 building’s auditorium and for the first time, members of a 50th year class were honored, including 1898 graduate Charles Dill.
In 1951, two men, Paul Prushing and Clarence Forshey, tied in the vote count for president for the 1951-1952 term.
“In order to settle the question concerning the presidency office, Mr. Clyde Herron made (a) motion ‘that we have two presidents,’” wrote Secretary Norma Reiselt. “It was 2nd by Mr. C.(Charles) R. Dill. President placed the motion before the assembly and it was voted ‘approved.’”
Tomato juice, steak and mashed potatoes were often featured during the dinner portion of the banquets throughout the 1950s and were provided by parent organizations or church groups.
When a new addition to the 1939 high school building opened in 1962, nearly 350 members, guests and seniors attended the 1963 banquet. They were seated in an open-air patio connected to the cafeteria.
In 1964, the $25 secretary salary was discontinued and all officer positions were returned to volunteer status. A year later, with Lockbourne Air Force Base in full operation and the student population escalating, the membership voted to discontinue the long-standing tradition of covering the cost of the banquet meal for graduating seniors because the classes had grown so large.
Fifty percent of the 50-year class of 1916 (three members) attended the 1966 banquet. In his presentation to the alumni, Assistant Superintendent Edwin Norton reported 1,700 students were bused to school on a daily basis. The number did not include students who walked to school.
For some reason lost to time, in 1968 the association ceased operations. However, after a hiatus of 16 years, nine graduates got together and brought the association back to life in 1984. Thirty years later, we’re still in operation and celebrating 84 years of total service to the alumni of Hamilton Township High School thanks to the dedication of our membership and officers.