In the American small town experience, high schools play large parts in local cultures. Siloam Springs High School began the twentieth century in a large brick building at Tahlequah and Mount Olive, shown below. When it was built in 1907, this building was originally meant to house all of Siloam’s classes--one grade per room. Eventually, however, Siloam’s student population grew too large, and the building became dedicated to the high school grades only.
By 1918, the number of high school students in Siloam had risen high enough that a new building was needed. Siloam Springs High School then moved to the recently vacated Arkansas Conference College building, shown below, which stood at the site of present day Southside Elementary. For two decades, Siloam’s high school students would meet here for classes.
It was during this period that the Siloam Springs High School athletics program had one of its most impressive periods. During the 1928 season, the Siloam Springs football team went undefeated. This week’s featured photo, below, was donated in 1974 and shows the undefeated 1928 Siloam Springs football team in a menacing pose, ready to take all comers.
The donor of this photo wrote a wealth of useful information on the back. First, the back of the photo lists the names of the players. They were Chester Gilliham, Roy Wolf, Dago Guthrie, “Tiny” Ward, Ralph “Slick” Henry, Lee “Athletic” Elrod, Cecil “Beardie” Elrod, Zeke Cecil Camp, Cal Dean Gunter Jr., [unclear] Smith, Peter Taz, and Paul La Fallette. The donor also wrote the team’s cheer on the back of the photo.
What a yell!
Hippety huss, hippety huss,
What in the hell is the matter with us?
Nothing at all, nothing at all,
We’re the gang that plays football!
A yell! A yell!
When we yell, we yell like hell!
S. I. L. O. A. M. Springs!
Walla kazoo kazoo,
Walla kazoo kazi,
Ninety years later, Siloam Springs is still proud of its Panthers, no matter the sport. After a new building was completed in 1940, Siloam Springs High School would move to the building shown below. This building was located just north of the former Arkansas Conference College building, which was later torn down.
Later, in 1963, construction finished on a new high school for Siloam Springs. This building was Siloam’s high school facility until 2011, and now serves as the Siloam Springs Middle School. The photo below shows an aerial view of the 1963 building, located at the intersection of South Dogwood and West Tulsa.
Today, Siloam Springs High School is located on the west side of Progress Avenue from the hospital and serves around 1,200 students per year.
Written by Chuck McClary
Based on research from Don Warden’s book, Images of America: Siloam Springs and from the Siloam Springs Museum archives.