VOLUME 15 • CHAPTER 4 • October 2015
We've been trying to get memoirs from retired and not-so-retired Campion jebbies for our newsletter for quite some time. We don't care if the memoirs are about when they went to Campion, taught at Campion, or just what they've done since leaving Campion. We just want to hear something from our mentors in the first person. Perhaps words of wisdom learned while IHS. Typically we only get 3rd person post mortem. Not to lay all the blame on the jebbies... why can't we get more memoirs from alumni. Where are all those authors and editors of the old 'ette.
Richard Rawe '48 jumped in last issue.
This issue marks the 40th anniversary of the closing of Campion. The auction took place on October 24, 1975. We delve a little into the unruly difficult beginnings of the school in the late 1800's through it's peak wonder years to it's final shunning collapse.
John Hyland '46 says hello...
It almost blew me off the computer when low and behold there it was, right in front of me on the screen, A Campion Newsletter. A blast from the past. How exciting.
Best part was the years being covered extensively, '39 to '49 or thereabouts, which landed me in the middle at '46. I see where you[edit:Hugie] was from '47. We must have passed in the halls on the way to class or sports, etc., very frequently. Jim Williamson was in your class and we were best friends along with Russ Skall (the all-American sports figure in those days). Jim was my best man and I was his! Russ was a Pall Bayer for my Mother and when carrying the casket to the hearse from Church, he slipped on the ice and fell on his head. A couple months later he fell again in Milwaukee, and hit his head again and died!
We played ball together and against one another. One summer we all played (for a few bucks) for a semi-pro team in Minnesota. Russ caught, Jim pitched, and I played shortstop. Earlier, unfortunately I played for Menasha WI legion team and they played for Appleton. Unfortunate for them as Menasha won the State Tournament one year when I played and took second the following year. The last one was against West Allis (Milwaukee) and we lost 1 to 0.
My third year out of Campion I was named the Commandant of a Catholic Military Academy thanks to my ROTC training at Campion. There were 300, boys many with problems; like only one parent; or like one of their fathers was the head of the mafia in Detroit. A little scary but he always brought me a bottle of scotch for Christmas. I must have received over a hundred gifts from the kids. It was run by the Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary! In the 40 acre campus was the Motherhouse of the Order and a girls school. I worked daily with about 20 nuns and enjoyed it immensely. They were amazing to work with. The only other male on the faculty was a priest from the Diocese of Detroit! We became great friends and it so happened that TV was just starting up and I had to go out and buy one when I had seen one work at a Campion alumni's house in Detroit that I visited. Please don't ask me his name, that was 65 years ago. My TV set went in Fathers apartment above the Chapel. We watched nearly every night as it was obviously very new as TV had just started a couple months before that! I also got my meals and laundry as part of my job. A little Nun took care of the chapel and also served Father and I our meals in our private dining rooms. Great cooks those Nuns. I also filled in for teachers in the upper grades in Math and Religion. I can hear snickers at that.
I coached all sports which led me to Coaching at Aquinas High School in La Crosse after 6 years at Monroe, Michigan and the Hall of the Divine Child. I was head baseball coach and assistant football and basketball coach. My first year at Aquinas was fantastic. My freshmen basketball team was undefeated and football team had one loss. My baseball team made it to state for the first time in school history. We lost the championship in extra innings to Marquette High School in Milwaukee!
My main occupation after all this fun, was as a Chamber of Commerce Executive. Pat and I spent 25 years or so in Door County, Wisconsin. I did my thing and she was an Administrator for a Technical College. I had retired a little earlier than my wife so I did a lot of golf to her miss pleasure. I guess we all go through that at times. It resulted in me winning our club championship so it didn't all go for note! At this time we raised our 4 children. This gave us 6 grandkids and they are all now about to be graduates of College. Three to go. All summa cum laude. What a blessing. My son was the oldest and retired at 44 as a multi millionaire! Girls were all professionals and very active in most everything. One is a Pastorial Assistant in the Catholic Church. Strange to have 50 year old kids especially when a didn't get married till I was 30! I will be 88 and my wife 80 both in January.
Thankfully they learned a lot from their parents. Both of us were very involved in Church issues. I raised operating funds for the Churches we belonged to in Sturgeon Bay and then in Green Bay for St. Bernard where I raised near a quarter million putting on church picnics, Mardi Gras, etc. Great fun but lots of work. Especially the day I had to roast a 300 lb pig for the dinner that night. Never again! I was also a Charter Grand Knight for a new council we started in La Crosse and then served 4 terms a District Deputy with the final year as Developer of Councils in Universities and Colleges throughout Wisconsin.
Oh, could go on and on, but I have confessed to enough for a while. By the way. Even though I'll be 88, I was just named The Wisconsin Director of the Dr. Ben Carson Presidential Campaign. Reason: I have been a writer and author for the last 25 years since retiring and that impressed the hell out of them. Yes I have book out. A Conservative book that came out in 2008. Available on Amazon if you feel inclined! Just google me!
God Bless and vote for CARSON......or else!
History of Campion Military Balls
We are looking for articles from the alumni of their memories of the famous Military Balls. Campion Knights Nostalgia Archives is looking for pictures of items related to Campion Military Balls. A pamphlet of the 1948 Military Ball has been found by a previous resident of PdC. To see the comments penned inside the pamplet check it out at the...
Campion JHS History
Matt Micka '74 sends us this excerpt circa 1966 from...
The Return of the Jesuits, by Francis X. Curran, S.J.: The German Jesuits Return to America
...[The College of the Sacred Heart] was located in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, hundreds of miles west of the other schools of the Buffalo mission. In the 1850's the town, situated a few miles from the junction of the Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers, had experienced a boon which resulted in the construction of a large hotel. After the hotel failed, the military used the building as a hospital during the Civil War. Thereafter the edifice served as a private school which also failed. In 1869 a local Catholic, John Lawler, took possession of the property and offered it, unsuccessfully, to the Missouri province. The Brothers of the Christian Schools thereupon accepted it and opened a college whose precarious existence ended in the late 1870's. When the Buffalo mission sought a suitable campus in the La Crosse Diocese, Lawler offered the land and the buildings, and on June 4, 1880, the fathers took possession. They also assumed charge of the local parish of St. Gabriel, and a group of parish missionaries set up their base at the college.
The new school opened in the autumn of 1880 with fifty-five pupils, of whom twenty-nine were boarding students. Since the school had no large Catholic population in its vicinity, the fathers realized that their college would have to depend largely on boarders. The boarding students did come; in 1885 they totaled almost one hundred. By that time, the school, which had opened with not one but three high school classes, had the full six years of the European college, and the faculty was considering the advisability of adding lectures in philosophy. But the pupils were not the type of student desired by the Jesuits. Soon after the school opened, the rector was lamenting their unbridled spirit of independence, and the mission superior found that the school was experiencing serious disciplinary problems. Only the boys who planned to enter the priesthood enrolled in the classical department, and since many Midwestern dioceses were opening minor seminaries, such students were few. The school records showed that the commercial students---and they were the great majority---remained at the college for only two or three terms. A report described these pupils as youths in their late teens, incapable of correct English, rude and impudent, who, if an attempt was made to punish their misdeeds, simply left.
Jesuit superiors consequently were not adverse to closing the school or changing its location. An opportunity for the second alternative arose when in 1887 Archbishop Michael Heiss asked the fathers to staff his seminary in Milwaukee. They were more than ready to comply, provided they could transfer their struggling little college to the flourishing metropolis of Wisconsin. When the hoped for transfer fell through, the fathers decided to close the college. Too many men, they believed, were wasting their time and labor on a profitless venture; if it were ended, the manpower released would be enough to staff several day schools. The Prairie du Chien property could well be used as the site of the novitiate the Buffalo mission was about to open. To these representations the Jesuit general, Anthony Anderledy, agreed, and he suppressed the college in 1888.
When the Jesuits asked the bishop of La Crosse, Kilian Flasch, to approve their plans, the prelate was far from pleased, and complained that the fathers had presented him with what was, in effect, a fait accompli. When Behrens explained the Jesuits' motives, the bishop gave a reluctant consent to the closing of the college and the opening of a novitiate. But Flasch wrote the general that he approved the changes only on condition that the fathers start a college in his see city as soon as possible. Anderledy, judging this condition unduly onerous, considered an appeal to the Holy See to have it removed. First, however, he approached the cardinal prefect of Propaganda, Giovanni Simeoni. At the cardinal's request, Bishop Flasch presented his view of the case, alleging that the Jesuits' main motive for closing the school was to free teachers for their new college in Cleveland. He further stated that in a conversation with Behrens the Jesuit superior had agreed to open a college in La Crosse. The cardinal sent the bishop's letter on to Anderledy with the suggestion that the Jesuits promise Flasch their next college. Under these circumstances, the Jesuit general agreed.
On September 8, 1888, the novitiate was inaugurated at Prairie du Chien. It satisfied a need that had long been felt in the Buffalo mission. Within two years of their entrance into Buffalo, the Germans wanted a novitiate. There were good reasons, not least the questions of customs and language, why the novices of the mission should be trained in America. At first, the home province disapproved. Consequently, while the candidates for the brotherhood entered noviceships in North America, the mission sent prospective scholastics overseas to the noviceship of the German province. Within a few years the provincial appreciated the attitude of the mission fathers and instructed them to open their own house of training. In 1877 the Buffalo fathers began preparations, but they desisted when instructions came from the general to put off the establishment of the new house. Probably Beckx believed that the mission was still too small to accommodate a noviceship. The total personnel of the mission was under seventy and the number of American vocations was inconsiderable. But in the next decade the Jesuits on the mission more than doubled, and local vocations were on the increase. Consequently the general instructed the mission to begin training its own novices, and the novitiate was opened. The first years of the house of training were precarious; few novices entered and of these some were poorly trained in the essential Latin. But in 1891 a dozen able youths applied for admission, and the house was placed on a sound footing.
After their first years of training, the scholastics went to Europe for their studies in philosophy and theology. The reasons for an American novitiate were also valid arguments for an American house where the students could receive their higher education, and in the 1890s the mission fathers began proposing these reasons to superiors in Europe. By the end of the century there was general agreement on both sides of the Atlantic that the mission scholastics should receive their full training in the United States. Even before that decision was reached, the Buffalo Jesuits had, in 1897, received the authorization of the general to open a house of philosophy.
With a noviceship in being and a philosophate in prospect, the Buffalo Jesuits considered reorganization. The personnel of the mission was growing rapidly: in 1894 the number passed 200 and by the end of the century was to exceed 250. The Germans felt themselves in sufficient strength to begin a new school. When he was sounded about the matter, Bishop James Schwebach, Flasch's successor as ordinary of La Crosse, informed the Jesuits that he expected them to fulfill the promise made to his predecessor. The fathers assented. In the summer of 1898 the noviceship and juniorate moved from Prairie du Chien to a new site in South Brooklyn, a suburb of Cleveland, and into the vacated quarters came the new house of philosophy and the faculty of the revivified College of the Sacred Heart.
Only because of the promise made to the bishop did the Jesuits, with many misgivings, reopen their college in Prairie du Chien. That their fears were well founded is shown by the fact that in the third year of its existence the school had but forty-four pupils. When the growing scholasticate was cramped by lack of space, an obvious solution was again to suppress the college. But the fathers determined to keep the school open, if only to avoid the charge of inconstancy. Over the years the college registration slowly increased. When the Buffalo mission was ended in 1907, the student body numbered 125. Even with that small number, the school was able to survive. [...] The college at Prairie du Chien, now Campion High School, remains...
Brief History by Bro Staber, S.J. (yearly highlights).
John Duskey '63 recollects...
For many of us who enrolled at Campion in the late 1950s and early 1960s, we were disappointed to find that the promised swimming pool had not yet been built. There is some interesting documentation on this and the other campus facilities.
The promotional brochure, dated 1957, from Campion's President, Fr. James B. Corrigan, S.J., announced plans for four major buildings on campus, plus tearing down old Lawler Hall and Kostka Hall.
The new buildings were to be:
Old Lawler Hall was torn down in the fall of 1960; the last school function held there was the freshman retreat in January of that year. Having been built in 1851, the building had historical significance, but it was built almost entirely of wood, and was regarded as a potential fire hazard.
Kostka Hall was destroyed by fire in December 1968, before the school got around to tearing it down. When athletic facilities in that building were no longer needed (with the opening of Hoffman Hall), the building was primarily used for classrooms and administrative offices. After the fire, administrative offices were set up in New Lawler Hall. In retrospect, Kostka Hall had retained few of the many purposes that it had just ten years earlier.
The thing I was most impressed with was this: the actual Lucey Hall building was exactly as the drawings projected.
For those of us in the class of '63, it looked like the swimming pool was a project that started with Fr. Kalb. But the evidence is clear: it was in Fr. Corrigan's Master Plan.
There was a plan in 1963, at the time of the dedication of Hoffman Hall, which included the previously planned auditorium, plus several additional buildings, and also called for the demolition of Campion Hall. However, it seems that this plan only lasted about a year, because the school soon reverted to the 1957 plan and started construction of the additional dorm, Xavier Hall (completed in 1965).
I'm sure there was a lot of discussion within the administration about where to build the dorm. All I know from what I was told was that there were cost considerations that led to the decision to build Xavier Hall on the site formerly occupied by Old Lawler Hall.
Paul McCullough '70...
Re: the campus expansion article, I mentioned in the CF July 2005 "1968" article that a plan for renovation/upgrade for Kostka Hall, prepared by Bro. Staber, was to to be reviewed for final approval on Wednesday, December 18, 1968. Kostka burned on Saturday, December 14.
Some renovation was done to Campion subsequently.......the projectors were recovered and put in the frosh gym for movies, and a large central mail room was built in the basement of Lawler Hall, with each student getting their own mailbox and establishing a dedicated post office.
Ghost of Joe Campion Mischief...
Future of Campion Past...Deprecated!
Public Auction Poster in Detail
The Campion Campus Sales Brochure
Alumni who have passed in 2014, 2013, 2012.
Faculty who have passed:
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