General History

They Fought Like Wildcats Centennial (1914-2014): Where most of the “Varsity” resided in 1914

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The inhabitants of the newly constructed South Hall on the University of Arizona's campus in 1914 (El Sahuaro Yearbook photo)

The male-student inhabitants, many of whom were athletes, of the newly constructed South Hall on the University of Arizona’s campus in 1914 (El Sahuaro Yearbook photo)

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TABLE OF CONTENTS:
General history
J.F. “Pop” McKale
The games
Comparisons then and now
Wildcats nickname
Military service
Rankings
LAST WEEK:
No. 59: Tucson’s entertainment in 1914
No. 60: Famous people born 100 years ago
No. 61: Other 100-year anniversaries
No. 62: Chain events leading to World War I begin
No. 63: Three yards, cloud of dust prevailed in 1914
No. 64: 1964 homecoming celebration
No. 65: Color barrier broken in 1949

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Clipping of actual L.A. Times article published Nov. 8, 1914

Clipping of actual L.A. Times article published Nov. 8, 1914

Excerpt from L.A. Times, Nov. 8, 1914, authored by Bill Henry:

“Arizona’s cactus-fed athletes, despite heroic efforts on the part of their two halfbacks, (Asa) Porter and (Franklin) Luis, went down to defeat before the Occidental Tigers yesterday afternoon, the tally with all precincts heard from being 14 to 0 in favor of the Tigers.
Confident of rolling up a big score, the Tigers took the field with grins on their faces, but before the game was 10 seconds old they knew they had a battle on their hands.
The Arizona men showed the fight of wild cats and displayed before the public gaze a couple of little shrimps in the backfield who defied all attempts of the Tigers to stop them.”

This site will conduct a countdown in a 100-day period, leading up to Arizona’s 2014 football season-opener with UNLV on Aug. 29 at Arizona Stadium. The 100 Days ‘Til Kickoff countdown will include information daily about the historic 1914 Arizona team that helped create the school’s nickname of “Wildcats” because of how they played that fateful day against Occidental.

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Arizona had an enrollment of only 308 students in the 1914-15 school year. Of the 18 buildings in the 40 acres of the campus, three were designated for living quarters for students.

The women roomed at the West Cottage while the men occupied the North and South Halls.

Most of the Varsity’s 19 members were quartered at the South Hall, a new dormitory built in 1913 to house approximately 40 men. The building was the first to be constructed on campus after Arizona gained statehood in 1912.

The South Hall had a capacity for about 25 men. The West Cottage for the females housed 22. The rest of the approximately 200 students lived in homes near the campus.

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Arizona coach J.F. “Pop” McKale resided at 801 E. Second Street at a house he would later share with his wife Ada L. Sackett and three daughters (Elizabeth, Ruth and Marian). That house no longer stands. It is now where a parking lot is adjacent to the University Marriott hotel.

According to the University of Arizona Record of that time a century ago, the halls consisted of two students to a room.

The university made it clear that the West Cottage, “home of the young ladies, is in charge of an experienced and capable preceptress who has constant supervision of those rooming there.”


Caption here

The 1914 Arizona football team that earned the honor of being named the first “Wildcats” was composed of (front row, left to right): Verne La Tourette, George Seeley, Leo Cloud, Richard Meyer, Asa Porter. Second row: Franklin Luis, Lawrence Jackson, Ray Miller, J.F. “Pop” McKale (coach), Turner Smith, Harry Hobson (manager), Orville McPherson, Albert Crawford, Ernest Renaud. Back row: Albert Condron, Emzy Lynch, Charley Beach, Vinton Hammels, Bill Hendry, George Clawson, Harry Turvey.
(AllSportsTucson.com graphic/Photo from University of Arizona Library Special Collections)

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What they were talking about on this day in 1914

Thursday, July 2, 1914

The Arizona state legislature called upon the Arizona Board of Trade and the Phoenix Women’s Club to come up with an idea for a state flag and the state’s colors. Arizona became a state in 1912 but a decision had not yet made for the flag and the colors as of two years later.

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A Google map and picture showing where J.F. "Pop" McKale's home used to be near the Arizona campus

A Google map and picture showing where J.F. “Pop” McKale’s home used to be near the Arizona campus

No students known to have tuberculosis were admitted to the dormitories or dining hall.

All dorms had electricity. The South Hall was heated by a hot water system. The North Hall and West Cottage were heated by stoves.

The rooms contained a clothes press, single beds, table, chairs, mirror, washbowl, pitcher and slop-jar. Yes, a slop-jar. You may have an idea of the uses for that. Let’s just say when you have to go, you have to go. The Halls had a centralized bathroom and shower area.

Students supplied their own mattresses, pillows, blankets, towels, rugs and brooms.

The comforts of living arrangements then are not close to what students have now with pillow-top mattresses and body pillows.

Perhaps the “Varsity” showed the fight of wild cats against Occidental in 1914 because they were a bit edgy.

ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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