It's basketball season in Powell and across the country.
During the 1900s, basketball games were a significant means of entertainment for rural communities such as Powell and Hyatts.
The Powell Liberty Historical Society has some great girls and boys basketball team photographs in its collection. Some are from 100 years ago, when schools housed all 12 grades.
Locally, one of these schools was in Powell and one was in Hyatts; neither still stands.
Today's photo shows the winning team from Hyatts after being named county champion in 1916-17. The team's auditorium was the pride of the school and its basketball court was said to be the best in the county, used for plays and community events as well as basketball.
The first yearbook of the Delaware County Centralized Schools -- the Delcoan -- was created in 1924. Superintendent Paul M. Lybarger reported there were 12 chartered high schools in the county; just 10 years before, there were only four. The schools had standard course requirements, and there was an equality of educational opportunity.
In the historical society's library, I was pleased to find the Powell High School Bulletin from 1918 -- 100 years ago. William Wilcox was the athletic editor of the Bulletin. His feeling was that basketball was the ideal sport for old "Powell High," as he pointed out that small schools with a smaller number of students needed to specialize.
He described a game with Hyatts, saying, "The game was fast but our boys failed to locate the basket." The next week, however, Powell defeated the county champions for the first time in two seasons.
The Bulletin's editor-in-chief, Iris Lowry, discussed the positive nature of the student association:
"Physical gymnastics as well as mental gymnastics have made many of the students healthier in body as well as raising their average grades several per cent."
Several other interesting items are included in our collection. The Powell High School basketball schedule from 1937-38 is printed in a tiny folder and features the following:
"Sportsmanship is one of the greatest benefits to be derived from athletic participation. It is the attitude of fair competition that makes a real man or woman.
"Athletics develop skillful and graceful actions on the part of High School people. The corrective effects of this participation can not be measured in money.
"Athletics furnish wholesome and entertaining recreation both to those participating and to the spectators. Let's all enjoy the sport. Attend all games."
O.H. Gibson was the coach that year. Admission cost 10 or 20 cents. Powell's opponents were Hyatts, Berlin, Ashley, Harlem, Radnor, Bellpoint, Galena, Sunbury, Ostrander, Orange and Brown. These were small communities or townships in Delaware County.
The society also has Harold Conklin's athletic council certificate, which shows he was awarded a varsity letter and position on the 1939-40 basketball team.
Conklin was an early and generous donor to the historical society when it was established in 1986, and he donated memorabilia of local significance.
A small news clipping from 1953 caught my eye as I browsed the school sports file in our library.
The headline read, "First Win in 37 games for Powell." The score was 48 for Powell and 39 for Harlem. In that game, "Powell's sensational Dick Holly, senior, sunk 32 points."
The next year, the four schools -- Berlin, Hyatts, Orange and Powell -- were consolidated to form the Olentangy Local School District. Olentangy High School's basketball team won the county tournament in its first year under coach Bob McFarland. According to a district timeline, the blue and gold team colors were chosen because Berlin had the newest uniforms.
We welcome the donation of school memorabilia. For more information, call us at 614-848-6210.
Carole Wilhelm is a member of the Powell Liberty Historical Society.