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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Withrow High School: A Brief Synopsis of 100 Years at - To Its Alums - the Most Beautiful High School in Ohio

[Withrow High School is celebrating its centennial in 2019.  The following is a history of the Hyde Park School submitted by Dave Blocksom, followed by a list of some of its illustrious grads - so far!]

The Beginning
In 1913, the Board of Education purchased 27 acres at the junction of Erie and Madison Roads to develop East High School.  The land was from the estate of Andrew Erkenbrecher, the founder of the Cincinnati Zoo. At that time the site was a small farm with a few scattered buildings and a pasture for grazing cattle. Ground was broken in December 1915, but construction was delayed because of World War I and the building wasn’t completed until 1919. 
The school presented an imposing appearance. The architecture was a departure from the customary school type - a combination of northern and southern colonial in a campus setting. The low red brick building with its pilloried portico, lofty tower, and graceful bridge cost $1,350,000 to build, and in September 1919, the school opened with an enrollment of 1,300 students and 65 teachers. 
When school reopened in September of 1920, several changes had taken place. The corridors had lockers instead of holes in the walls, two gyms and two swimming pools were ready for use and the football stadium, with a capacity of 8,000, was ready. A magnificent pipe organ was donated by Mr. Richard K. LeBlond, whose company was located at Edwards and Madison Roads. The Tower News was organized in 1921 as a biweekly paper supported entirely by subscriptions. In 1929 the tennis courts were installed. 
In 1924, the Board of High Schools honored the retiring president of the Board of Education, Dr. John Withrow, by changing the name of East High School to Withrow High School.  In 1925, Withrow had an enrollment of 2,100 and a faculty of 90. In 1927, the 7th and 8th grades were added to the school.

The Erkenbrecher property at the junction of Erie and Madison - 27 acres were purchased to develop “East High School.”
Construction of “East High School” from 1918

The iconic view of Withrow High School today
The Tower
While the campus and its buildings are impressive, it is the clock tower that symbolizes Withrow. Standing 114 feet high, it is the center of the entire school plan. Inside the tower are 110 steps leading to windows above the clock where, on a clear day, one can see for miles. 

The Bridge
Just as iconic as the tower is the “arching bridge” over the “shaded valley.” City engineers condemned the bridge as unsafe in 1980, but the Friends of Withrow coordinated the effort to raise $150,000 for its restoration. The restored bridge was rededicated in 1982 in honor of Nora Mae Nolan, beloved former English teacher. These renovation efforts led to the establishment of the Friends of Withrow in 1985. (In 1995 that organization transitioned into Withrow Alumni, Inc.) A second restoration of the bridge was completed in 2011. 

The Changes
The pools were closed in the 1990s because they did not meet required health standards and were filled in during the school year 2005–06. With the construction of Peoples Junior High (at the site that is now Clark Montessori High School), 1969–70 was the last year for the junior high. The outside appearance of Withrow changed very little over the years until the completion of the vocational building in 1974. Part of this renovation was the construction of a "bridge" building that connected the old junior high with the main building. In the fall and winter of 2006–07, the old junior high, the boiler room and the vocational ed "bridge" building were removed to provide additional parking. That same year a $43 million renovation of the entire school took place. 
After the renovations, the cafeteria was moved to the old girls' gym, and the kitchen was established in the old middle gym. In the old boys' gym, the track and seating were removed and new seating was installed on one side. That gym is now used for gym classes and practices. The new gym was completed in 2006, with a capacity of 1,500, and Withrow held its first home basketball games on campus since 1976. A fitness center with state-of-the-art equipment and a weight room were established off the old tunnel above what used to be the boys swimming pool. 

The much updated auditorium
The former auditorium
Today’s Withrow Stadium  -  where the Tigers rule!
The Band and the Fields
The alumni also support the band. Currently, Withrow has one of only two marching bands in all of CPS (the other is Walnut Hills). The synthetic football field was donated by the Cincinnati Bengals. There are a new score board, new lights (lights were first installed in the stadium in 1965) and a new track (also available for community use). A new synthetic football field was installed in 2015, again paid for by the Bengals. As part of the MLB All-Star game in Cincinnati in 2015, MLB and the Reds provided $500,000 for the installation of a new baseball (boys’) and softball (girls’) field, each with their own scoreboard. The baseball field was dedicated to Withrow grad and Reds Hall of Fame player Ron Oester (’74).  

In the school year 2002–03, Withrow opened with three schools: the University School as a college preparatory school with 200 ninth graders; the International School (offering an International Baccalaureate degree - one of only three schools in Ohio offering IB at that time) for all four years; and the Traditional School for 10th through 12th grades. Each subsequent year, the University School added a class and the Traditional School lost a class. In the school year of 2011–12, the remaining two schools were combined and named Withrow University High School. After an absence of forty plus years, the 2013–14 school year once again saw the presence of 7th-and 8th-graders on the Withrow campus. 
Busy studying in the early library
Lunchroom in 1920

The Community
In 2013 a Health Clinic was opened in the school, not only to serve Withrow students, but also to serve other east side CPS schools and qualifying residents. It is operated and funded by the Cincinnati Health Department. In 2015 a Dental Clinic was opened in the old choir room to serve the same patients. It is also operated and funded by the Health Department.

Changes and Improvements Continue
WAI is committed to supporting our alma mater - its students, its programs, its State Historic Register status and its legacy. We thank you for your donations. To read more about Withrow’s history, and to see where your dollars are going, check out

East High School Class of 1920

Dr. John M. Withrow

Aerial view of the campus, probably ca. 1940-50 

Panoramic view of today’s campus

Withrow High School at night - a beacon in Hyde Park 

Notable Withrow Alumni /ae (as of April 2019)

Wesselmann, Tom ’49 Internationally known “Pop” artist ($10.7 million for one painting in 2008)
Ruthven, John ’43 American Artist, Wildlife, 2004 National Medal of Arts; cartoonist at Withrow (WHoF)
Fabe, Robert ’35 Noted Cincinnati artist, Professor of Fine Arts at UC 1958-1987, Honored by City of Cincinnati, May, 1997
Stichtenoth, Warren ’43 Noted Cincinnati artist, career in commercial art and advertising
Kennedy, J. William ’21 Noted painter, Professor of Art at University of Illinois; painting hangs at Withrow
Folger, Franklin ’37 Nationally syndicated cartoonist “The Girls”
Fern, Ed ’27 Well known portrait painter, later known for Hawaiian paintings; cartoonist at Withrow
Findsen, Owen ’53 Cincinnati Enquirer Art critic; Author, cartoonist at Withrow, 
Crozier, Charles ’42 Painter, greeting card designer; cartoonist at Withrow
Niland, David ’48 Internationally known architect, professor at UC
Snyder, Dave ’71 Famous Car artist
Lowry, Bates ’41 Architecture historian, Founding director National Building Museum, Author

Netsch, Patricia Dawn Clark ’44 First woman to run for governor of Illinois sponsored by a major political party
Tillery, Dwight ’66 Former Mayor of the City of Cincinnati (WHoF)
Reece, Alicia ’89 Vice Mayor of the City of Cincinnati, member of the Ohio House of Representatives (WHoF)
Pastor, Jeff   Current City Councilman, City of Cincinnati
Yates, Tyrone ’72 Former Vice Mayor City of Cincinnati, Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge (WHoF)
Hobson, Dave ’54 Former US congressman for the 7th district of Ohio and former President of the Ohio Senate (WHoF)
Phillips, Edwina Panzer Dalton ’54 First lady of the Commonwealth of Virginia and member of Virginia General Assembly
Tarbell, Jim ’61 Restauranteur, City councilman and Vice Mayor of the City of Cincinnati 
Rich, Gordon ’22 Seven term City of Cincinnati councilman
Bush, Myron ’30 City of Cincinnati councilman (WHoF)
VanVyven, Dale ’53 Ohio State Representative 14 years
O’Brien, Jackie Kirtley ’50 Ohio State Representative
Thomas, Cecil ’71 Cincinnati councilman, Ohio State representative, Ohio State Senator
Dolby, Dorothy Nichols ’26 City Councilwoman and Vice Mayor of the City of Cincinnati
Scherer, Gordon ’56 Four term Ohio State Representative, prominent lobbyist

Lowry, Robert ’37 Postwar Novelist, winner of O. Henry award; novel “The Big Cage” 
Pieper, Charlotte ‘24 “Wooden Shoe Hollow” about German immigrant life in Cincinnati
Friedrich, Ralph ’29 and Faculty   Poet and translator “Boy at Dusk”
Linde, Shirley Motter ’47 “Healthy Homes in a Toxic World” (WHoF)
Dieterly, Duncan ’57 “Short Stories One”
Boyles, Nancy Stine ’64 “Parenting a Child with Attention Deficit”
Panowski, Eileen Thompson ’37 “The Apache Gold Mystery” Young readers books 
Petrie, Bruce ’44 “How to Get the Most out of your Lawyer”
Dees, Greg ’68 “Enterprising Nonprofits” “The Meaning of Social Entrepreneurship”

Walke, Nelson, Faculty “Health and Fitness”, a textbook
Rosenberger, Marjorie, Faculty “Modern Speech” a textbook

Harvuot, Clifford ’30 Baritone – 30 years with Metropolitan Opera, New York City
Wade, Kathy ’73 EMMY nominated Jazz vocalist (WHoF)
Moore, Michael ’63 Jazz bassist (WHoF)
Johnson, Richard ’63 Principal oboist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Murphy, John M (Pat) ’31 Professional drummer
Daulton, Ernest ’22 Pianist: first staff organist at Crosley Field and staff organist on “Moon River” on WLW radio
Williams, Otis ’54 With The Charms recorded “Hearts off Stone” #1 hit on R&B charts in 1954, “Ivory Tower” big hit in 1956 (WHoF)(WAHof)
Wilson, Pat ’47 Broadway singer, actress, author of “Yesterdays Mashed Potatoes: The Fabulous Life of a Happy Has-Been”
Smith, Kenny ’57 Soul/Funk singer Cincinnati Entertainment Awards Music Hall of Fame 2006
Doppman, William “Skippy” ’52 Piano prodigy, later composer, teacher
Goss, Eugene III ’69 Artist, composer, International entertainer
Rhoten, Bruce ’62 Principal trumpet of the NDR Radiophilharmonie
Walker, Nancy Fuldner ’48 Pianist, oboist and teacher
Gamby, Oscar Jr. ’42 Brass instrumentalist with Count Basie, Duke Ellington bands; taught at School for Performing Arts
Hobbs, Darwin ’86 American Gospel music singer

Lyons, Ruth Reeves ’23 Entertainer, songwriter, Best know for “The Fifty-Fifty Club” broadcast throughout the mid-west (WHoF)
Dodd, Jimmie ’27 Entertainer, Best known as MC on the “Mickey Mouse Club” (WHoF)
Matlock, Stan ’41 Radio personality for 26 years “Magazine of the Air” (WHoF)
Hughes, William ’46 Choreographer, Rockettes, Ted Mack Amateur Hour, Cincinnati Ben-Gals
Gray, John ’91 Comedian, Minister and film-maker
Surtees, Robert   Academy Award winning (3 times) Cinematographer “Ben Hur”
Black, Carole Federle ’61 President and CEO of Lifetime Entertainment Services (WHoF)
Clooney, Rosemary Singer, actress: attended Withrow 1942-43 school year
Ramey, Venus Miss America 1944; attended Withrow between pageants; became activist in OTR
Rhodes, Hari (Harry) Actor, Author “L.A. Law”, Magnum P.I.”, “Dynasty”, “Conquest of the Planet of the Apes”
Shannon, Blair ’77 Comedian, Prominent Cruise ship entertainer

SPORTS- See also Withrow Athletic Hall of Fame and Withrow Notable Sports Figures
Giles, Bill ’52 President of the Philadelphia Phillies Baseball team (WHoF)
Bray, Dick ’23 Radio sportscaster, “Fans in the Stands” Cincinnati Reds (WHoF)(WAHoF)
Oester, Ron ’74 Baseball, Second baseman 1978-1990 Cincinnati Reds (WHoF)(WAHoF)
Orr, Louis ’76 Basketball player and coach (WAHoF)
Allen, Ethan ’22 Baseball outfielder 1926-1938 (WHoF)(WAHoF)
Nieman, Bob ’45 First Major league rookie ever to hit consecutive home runs in his first two times at bat (St. Louis Browns)(WAHoF)
Castelli, Stan ’32 Former Athletic Director at Woodward High School, 44 years with CPS
Scardina, Virgil ’45 Head football coach at Elder High School, led the team to an undefeated, untied season in 1954
Hunter, Brandon ’99 Basketball, played with Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic (WAHoF)
Wilson, James F. “Pepper” ’39 Cincinnati Royals general manager, public relations director at Cincinnati Zoo (WHoF)
Laufer, Walter ‘24 Olympic swimmer (WHoF)(WAHoF)
Hill, Tyrone ’86 Basketball player, Cleveland Cavaliers (WAHoF)

McElroy, Neil ’21 President of Procter & Gamble, Secretary of Defense 1957-59, cover of Time magazine (WHoF)
Greene, Tom ’23 President of Greene Line Steamers, owner of the Delta Queen
Lindner, Robert ’38 CEO of United Dairy Farmers
Conner, Nancy Shick Schellhous ’58  Founder and former president Promark Company
McCarty, Ted ’28, President Gibson Guitar Company, reinventor of the electric guitar, designer of Les Paul model

Pryor, Chester ’47 First African American ophthalmologist in Cincinnati
Chin, NeeOo ’73 Famous Fertility Specialist (WHoF)
Bowden, Timothy ’63 Cancer research, Arizona Cancer Center (WHoF)

Adams, Sheila Adams Thompson ’61 President and CEO of Cincinnati Urban League (WHoF)
Mettey, Wendell ’64 Minister, Founder and President of Matthew 25 Ministries (WHoF)
Gwinner, Isabel Yeatman ’28 Philanthropist; Cincinnati Art Museum, Historical Society, Symphony, May Festival, Beechwood Home
Reece, Steve ’65 Businessman, civic leader, founder of Operation Step Up, founder of Communiplex (WHoF)
McKay, Emily Gantz ’63 Founder and former President & CEO of Mosaica, The Center for Nonprofit Development and Pluralism (WHoF)

White, Don ’63 Clermont County, Ohio Prosecutor
Schrotel, Stanley ’32 Nationally known City of Cincinnati Chief of Police, cover of Life magazine
Freers, Edward ’29 Diplomat, Counselor of the US Embassy in Moscow
Sherman, Jack ’55 Municipal Judge, U.S. Magistrate Judge (WHoF)
Shannon, Raymond ’39 Judge Court of Appeals
Coes, Kendal ’85 Former Judge, Magistrate. Hamilton County Probate Court
Moore, Louis Moreira ’39 Former Senior judge District Court State of Texas
Wright, Robert ’69 Former City of Cincinnati Fire Chief (WHoF)
Bridgeman, Edward ’63 Former Chief of UC police, Head of criminal Justice Technology Program at UC (WHoF)

Hull, Arthur ’44 President of Cincinnati Board of Education
Bryant, John ’54 Withrow teacher, Executive Director Cincinnati Youth Collaborative (WHoF)
Herget, Paul ’26 Astronomer, Pioneer in US space program, director of Cincinnati Observatory
Brown, Lionel ’63 Principal Withrow High School 1985-89 (WHoF)
D’Amico, Thomas ’47 former Principal Withrow High School (WHoF)
Spicer, Emily Taylor Harris ’44 Principal Taft High School, first female principal in Cincinnati Public Schools (WHoF)

White, Mary Linn DeBeck ’40 Cincinnati Post feature writer, Cincinnati Journalism Hall of Fame, Artist (WHoF)
Firestone, Bob ’28 Sports Editor Cincinnati Times-Star, City Desk and columnist Cincinnati Enquirer 

Leahr, John ’38 Tuskegee Airman, Kroger Everyday Freedom Hero
Frazier, Angela Cook  ‘ 90 Educator, principal Kilgour School
Cramer, William L ’42 Author “Air Combat with the Mighty 8th: A Teenage Warrior in World War II
Melvin, William ’47 Aviation artist
Hayden, Joe ’47 Midland Co, coach of Midland Redskins
Comisar, Lee ’48 owner of Maisonette Restaurant
Melvin, Howard ’53 owner of Heritage Restaurant
Melvin, Janet Davis ’53 owner of Heritage Restaurant
Greene, Gordon ’53 lawyer, actor
Walton, Jenell ’69 News anchor, WCPO (WHoF)
Aglamesis, James ’45 Owner Aglamesis Brothers
Ruff, Elmer ‘50 Cincinnati artist and teacher
Crawford, Veronica (Randy) ’70 Jazz and R&B singer
Dehner, Joe ’66 Attorney 
Hough, Dr. Paul S. ’36 Medicine, Urban League honoree
Kinder, Thomas ’45 Cincinnati Bengals public Address announcer for 37 years
Stringfield, Leonard H. ’39 Ufologist and author
Andreadis, Harry ’50 Athletics (WAHoF)
Schroeder, Tad ’54 Athletics (WHoF)(WAHoF)
West, Roland ’62 Business Consulting (WHoF)(WAHoF)
Williams, Regina ’84 (WHoF)(WAHoF)
Jackson, George ’74 Education/Coach
Galloway, Melvin ‘’96 Education (WHoF)
Ernst, Dick ’50 Education, Coach, administration (WHoF)(WAHoF)
Diekman, John ’61 Bio Tech Research, business (WHoF)
Calloway, Ricky ’85 NBA, business (WHoF)(WAHoF)

Atkins, Dorothy ’20 Withrow educator
Atman, Dr. Kay Stimsom ‘50
Beasley, Gerogia ’21 Educator
Crosset, Richard ’44  Business
Dewberry, Martha ’60 Activism, Education
Dobbins, Steve ’66 Business CG&E
Eanes, Michael ’60 Education
Garner, Ralph ’74 Education
Green, Jane ’60 Withrow Educator
Herschede, John ’26 President and CEO The National Underwriter Co.
Holwadel, Kent ’50 Merrill Lynch
Holwadel, Marlene Meyer ’50 Volunteer
Howell, Michele ’71 Education
Jackson, George ’74 WHS basketball coach, assistant coach Seton Hall University
Lyons, Larry B ’53 Education
McDaniel, Robert ‘69
McLean, Cecil ’41 USPS, Negro League professional baseball player
Meadows, Cheryl Pulliam ‘66
Melvin, Dr. Howard ’69 Medicine
Melvin, Dr. Keith ’70 Medicine
Moyo, Kimya ’65 Education
Rankin, Stuart ’56 Business
Rutledge, Mary ’69 Education
Simpson, Charles ’51 Education
Smith, Kazava ’71 Community volunteer, Minister
Smith, Merri Gaither ’53 Education: philanthropist, volunteer
Srofe, John B. ’51 Business
Stallworth, Barbara ’61 Attorney
Weis, Richard ’57 Education 
Wynn, Jerome ’60 Cincinnati Fire Department, Special Hero

Tubbs, Tony Boxing Heavyweight champion
Lakeman, Albert “Moose” Baseball catcher 1942-1954 Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia, Boston & Detroit

Withrow Hall of Fame (WHoF)
Withrow Athletic Hall of Fame (WAHoF)

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