A "Barn" Photo


     From the very beginning Salina was always outgrowing schools.  Starting in the late 1800s with one building (Old Central) for all students in all grades, Salina had to build two more high schools (plus an annex) and two separate junior highs before building "our" SHS which was designed to last for the foreseeable decades.  It's still used but now there is a second high school and I think four grades instead of three attend.  In addition "our" old study hall and cafeteria were converted to classrooms while the library was doubled.

     And "our" two large Junior High schools built in 1926 became cramped after WWII.  A common solution was applied again:  add an expansion annex structure nearby.  The need must have been for gymnasium and music spaces.  There was a lot of empty space between the two junior highs when Old Central was demolished.

     I think I recall 7th grade home room basketball games for boys' teams after school in the top floor gym of Roosevelt Jr. Hi which in our day was normally the girls' gym.  There may have been another gym in the top of Lincoln, but I don't recall it (do you?).  In any case, in 1947 or so the Barn was added largely as a new gym for boys, but there was a music component also.


     In 1947 the original Barn was moved from the army's Camp Phillips a few miles southwest of the air base.  This photo below was in the 1948 Trail.  A Salina Journal article said the music room on the east end was added in 1951, in which case that end jutting out in this photo is the stage, not the music room. 




     This photo was taken looking southwest with a bit of Roosevelt showing up to the south.  You may not find the structure as appealing as I do unless you too spent some good times in it.


     A couple of pictures from Camp Phillips shed some light on the Barn.  Phillips was an army training base built in 1942.  The airbase was built a few miles to the northeast and a POW internment camp (for 3,000 Germans and Italians) was a few miles to the southwest.  My information comes from the book "Camp Phillips" by Royal Oakes; I got it from the Smoky Hill Museum book store.


     Here's a drawing of Camp Phillips.

     In the larger original drawing you can better see structures with the unique roofs resembling that of the Barn.  A legend identifies them as recreation buildings.  I put a red dot beside each of these 11 structures.

     There is about the same number of chapels with tall steeples.

     There were over 35,000 men in Camp Phillips, hence the need for so many duplicate buildings.



     This is the only photo in the book (or any place else I can find) that shows one of the recreation buildings (middle bottom).  One of the chapels is more prominent in the foreground.

     The highest part of the roof of the recreation building joins a lower, wider roof about half way down...just as with the Barn.

     I'd bet that all 11 recreation buildings were identical, given the speed with which the Camp was thrown together.



     This is a blow-up of a photo I've had for a long time from some place.  It shows rows of  barracks and what seems to be a recreation building in the distance.  It's not much to show, but it's better than nothing.



     Here's what I think I know about what was inside the Barn in 1953-1954 when the music room definitely existed.  The end nearest the camera in the 1948 photo was not the music addition although it juts out; it must be the stage.  The eastern-most portion of the music addition was a large band and orchestra room with risers for various instrumentalists facing the teacher-conductor.  Next to the west, behind the teacher-conductor, was a narrow storage room for instruments and sheet music.  The band/orchestra room had exterior doors on the north and south walls facing the two junior high buildings.  None of that could be in this 1948 photo, of course.


     In 1953-1954 the next part of the building to the west, the part that juts out, was a stage opening to the west (toward the basketball court).  I don't remember ever seeing the stage used -- maybe you do.  I wonder what happened on the stages while in Camp Phillips.


     From that stage you would look down the length of the basketball court, with bleachers on at least the south side.  (The north side is very fuzzy to me now.)  Only two or three feet after you reach the far west end of the basketball court, there was a brick wall.  Why brick?  Why here?  I don't know, but I am certain that it was there because during a 9th grade basketball game I managed to run right into it.  The bricks weren't damaged.  A knee was a bit weak for a few seconds, but otherwise the only injury was feeling rather stupid.

     Beyond that brick wall and at the most westerly end of the Barn was the locker room.  The main entrance was at the southwest corner, completely opposite from the camera in the 1948 photo.  I remember standing there many times with others at the end of classes waiting for the bell to ring for the next class. 

     I wonder if the brick wall and locker room were added after the Barn was moved from Camp Phillips.  Seems odd to have only one brick wall in the original design.



     On this recent photo I've drawn a blue outline of where I think the Barn was, approximately.


     The two junior highs are now condos and the intervening ground is sort of park-like, as this photo shows.  This close-up from a satellite photo (looking north) from Google-Earth was taken in April, 2014 before the grass was green. 


     The oldest photo of this spot that Google archives is from 1991 (satellite photos were much fuzzier then) and there was no Barn, although there was a running track and tennis courts between the main buildings.  A large white thing might have been a building, even maybe a new gymnasium (Barn II?), but it was much larger than the Barn and was oriented north-south rather than east-west.












     Here are three of my personal memorable events from inside the Barn, not including running into that brick wall.  (There are others.)  Got some yourself to share?  Send 'em in!


     In a 9th grade basketball game I suddenly had 50 ft. of clear space ahead of me for an uncontested lay-up and an easy score.  But I'd never before dribbled while sprinting and didn't instantly realize I had to push the ball more forward, so I dribbled the ball off my knee and out of bounds.  Despite this obvious lesson, I never practiced that particular task fundamental to a real basketball player, but then I never had another game-time breakaway opportunity like this either.  So it worked out just fine.


     It was the greatest point ever fought for during a game of basketball H-O-R-S-E.  It was between Joel Johnson and myself during a gym class.  I'd describe the shot we both made multiple times but you would never believe it.  Yet it happened!  (I think I won the point, but Joel's version might end differently.)


     I concentrated hard and finally played the very busy "Waltz of the Flowers" without serious error during our 9th grade orchestra class right after lunch.  I smugly put my flute down only to surprisingly hear that everyone else was still playing.  Yikes!  I'd missed a repeat and had focused so hard on my own part that I never heard the difference.  I doubt that I ever played that piece correctly...not then, not ever.  But I liked it.


     Now for some Old Business you may wish you had skipped....



     Back on the web site in December, 2013, I showed a cropped version of this photo from Ginny Horn that shows musicians near a building.  This time I show the entire photo.  Back then I speculated that this was during our 8th grade during 1952-1953 (Ann Von Schriltz's last class with us) and that the corner of the building could have been part of the Barn.

     I'm sticking with 8th grade, but was this at the Barn?  Now we can compare this photo to the Barn's 1948 portrait above.


     It looks like the girls are at a corner of the structure.  There are multicolored blocks below clapboard siding.  You see the same style in the 1948 photo only at the east end of the Barn.  But in 1948 the east end enclosed the stage, not the music room.  By 1952 the music room had been added, perhaps repeating the style of the original east end, so I can easily imagine the girls stepping out of the music room through the north entrance, passing the shoe scrapper, and posing at the northeast corner of the Barn's music end.

     If so, looking directly behind the girls along the east side of the building shouldn't we see Roosevelt Jr. High?  We don't.  But maybe the camera was angled a bit to the east of south, showing only the houses across the street.  We clearly aren't looking exactly southerly along the east face. 

     The sides of the Barn were aligned north-south and east-west.  The shadows are parallel to one of the sides; it is either early morning, late afternoon, or midday (which only eliminates midnight!).  The girls' shadows extend away from their left shoulders.

     This diagram shows the four corners of the building and how the girls might have been standing.  Their shadows that could be formed parallel to the building are in black and point away from possible sun positions.  The northeast ("NW") corner can immediately be ruled out because at that location the shadow can never point to the south, away from their left shoulders.

     Which corner might logically have a foot scrapper?  It was surely near an entrance.  There was no door on the east side of the southeast ("SE") corner, so I'll eliminate that corner.  The main entrance was at the southwest ("SW") corner and an entrance to the music room was near the northeast ("NE") corner, so there are still two candidate locations.

     But why would the girls take their instruments outdoors and walk from the east end to the west end?  Isn't it more likely that they would stay near the east end?

     I'll speculate that the girls stepped out of the northeast door and took a few steps to the east; the shadows pointed to the west so it was morning.  From the photo I can measure that the sun was 38 deg above the horizon and was nearly due east.  The autumnal equinox has 12 hours of daylight three weeks into Sept., not long after school started and before winter.  If the photo was taken on a Sept. morning, the time of day would have been about 2.5 hours after a 7:15 AM sunrise, or 9:45 AM.  That's just a plausible possibility.  The same timings would appear at the vernal equinox in March.


     But, WAIT !  THERE's MORE !

     Ginny's collection of loose photos also included THIS one, no doubt taken at the same time and place as the previous one!  There's that foot scrapper with a dark foundation block now slightly to our right of the scrapper (the photographer moved to her right a few feet).

     This time it has John Harvey and a girl I can't identify (HELP!) behind Ann Von Schriltz and Harriet Larsen.  (She resembles Brenda Barringer but I don't recall that she played an instrument.)

     John played the French horn so that's yet another instrument to add to those in the first photo. 

     This photo shows more details about the location:  where dids the Barn have a drain pipe in a corner where the sun would fully hit a wall with a small window high above the ground? 

     That's a problem.  One wall in this photo has clapboards above blocks while the sunny wall has clapboards all the way down.  Nothing shown in the 1948 photo matches such a place, but in 1948 the Barn wasn't yet complete as we knew it.


     Up till now I've been preferring the northeast ("NE") corner.  Could these two photos actually be from the southwest ("SW") corner that we can't see in the 1948 photo?  This would be at the main entrance, of which there is little to no visual evidence (beyond the foot scrapper) in Ginny's photos.  The 1948 photo shows clapboard down to the ground on the west end ("NW" corner) while on the corner shown here there are blocks.  It's not impossible, but not easily understood either. 

     For this to be the SW corner, the photos would have been taken late in the afternoon (like 5 PM in Sept. or March) to form those shadows directly to the east.  The kids have to be on the south side of the SW corner with the camera pointed north.  The large gap between the Barn and Lincoln would help explain why no school building appears to the left in the six-girl photo.  The little window might be part of the ventilation of the locker room on the east side; the height above the ground supports that guess.  (Was the locker room added after the Barn was moved from Camp Phillips?)

     And if this is the SW corner, why did the kids stray so far from the music room at the east end?  And did they just put their expensive instruments on the ground for this photo?  Oh, well.


     I confess that I can't see how to decide conclusively between the NE and SW corners from the evidence in the photos.  Different features support different conclusions.  I'm frustrated by not being able to pin down more about these photos, but chances are pretty good that it didn't matter much then and even less now.  Why do I care?  Well, why do people labor over jig-saw puzzles?

     If you have some thoughts on these photos, I'd like to hear them.  Send 'em in!


     Alas, the Barn burned down Dec. 11, 1961.  I'll save that story for next month.




        Just for Fun


     I got a Christmas gift early this year when I thought I'd stroll through old SHS yearbooks thanks to e-Yearbook.com and see what popped up.  In the 1948 Trail, I was delighted to find a large portrait of the junior high Barn!  I'd given up long ago of ever finding a photo of that sparse structure.  The building must have been new for the '47-'48 school year so it was featured in the Trail. 

     I kept digging around and slowly learned more and more about the place.  I can be easy to please so I'm passing along what I've learned in case you can be too.