HISTORY OF GWYNNE HIGH SCHOOL AND FORT MYERS HIGH SCHOOL, FORT MYERS, FLORIDA
HISTORY OF GWYNNE HIGH SCHOOL AND FORT MYERS HIGH SCHOOL
FORT MYERS, FLORIDA
Principals - Andrew D Gwynne High School
Romero Mitchell Sealey
J Frank Farrow
C W Crumly
H F Steedl
James L Orr
Principals - Fort Myers High School (FMHS)
Working on the history of FMHS ...
Dr J Colin English
Katherine Row Moore
Ellis Parke Greene
Ed B Henderson
Dr Maurice Coleman
C R Barker (Acting)
Dr James Browder
Mrs Joni Logan
and Information Welcomed!
When and where was the name Green Wave for the foot ball
team first used?
Sam Schooley (FMHS 1948) reports that he was teaching at FMHS in 1956
when Coach James Orr, a long time coach at Gwynne High School and for
the 1921 basketball and football teams, spoke to the FMHS faculty on
where the term "Green Wave" originated.
Coach Orr reported that in 1921, the football and basketball teams went
by boat to play St Pete. They had a rough trip and many became seasick.
They ran aground in Sarasota Bay and spent the night there. Next day,
they were picked up by a passing steamer and carried the rest of the
way... arriving late. The games were played and the FMHS teams lost.
The boat trip, seasickness, and the game are all documented as follows:
From the 1921 Caloosahatchian
SAINT PETE TRIP
In the blackness of the early morning hours of December 3rd,
the Athletic Team of old Gwynne High, together with Coach Orr,
Chaperon Bulgin, and several interested friends, began gathering on
Ireland's Dock, ready, or at least there, to start on what proved
to be probably the most memorable trip in the history of Athletics
of this school.
Altho we could not leave dock as early as planned, still by
sunrise we were far down the beautiful Caloosahatchee, the 'Nepenthe'
gliding smoothly with her load of jolly folk. About twelve o'clock
saw the Nepenthe go out Boca Grande Pass and launch upon the disturbed
waters of the briny deep.
Delicious odors came floating up from the kitchen below. Charlie
calls down from upper deck: "Say, fellers, when is that grub comin"?
May and some half score others chime in: "I'm simply starving."
"Do get me a sandwich." "I positively am caving in", etc. etc.
For the sake of the inhabitants of the deep, would that dinner could
have been served that minute.
About half an hour passes. That awful pallor in Mae's face shows
that something is wrong. She feels the need of support and one notices
a tendency to lean on the rail. Then comes the first and last call
Mae thinks she will not eat and the appetite of more than one is
no longer as sharp as it once was. Even Mr. Orr, after looking long
at a generous serving of hash and grits, grows sadder of countenance
and decides it isn't worth the effort. He reaches the rail only to
find he is a little late in getting there, judging from the number
already present. From that time on it is "over the rail", "over the
rail", "over the rail", and still the big ground swells continue to
rock the Nepenthe with her helpless load of victims.
About sundown we reach Sarasota Pass, when it is decided that we
shall continue the journey by inland waters as there seems to be no
chance to reach St. Pete by the original route without having our
players too much used up to do justice to Gwynne High and themselves
in the games scheduled for the following afternoon and evening.
Ewing, Victor, Billy, and others are still frequent visitors at the
rail. Mary, Eleanor, and Fred practically escaped the disease, tho it
has been rumored that days afterward they thought the Study Hall was
rocking and we did notice that at times their steps seemed uncertain.
It is claimed that their pale faces and lack of appetite stimulated
Ewing to discover his seasick remedy.
Never will waters seem so peaceful as did the waters of Sarasota
Bay that late afternoon. We could still hear the roar of the breakers
outside but no longer did they trouble us. Olive and Bertha began
powdering their noses, soon others followed, and in less than an hour
all except Bonita, Ewing, Victor, and Billy are ready for grits and
hash. Winfield says: "Let's have plenty of um. I feel as if I never
have had a square meal".
Supper over, everyone gathered on deck, Ernest assisted by D.B.
and Clarence, are deep in the mysteries of entertaining the fairer
There is a possibility of reaching St. Pete in the early morning
hours. We had expected to reach there at eleven that night, and a
spirit of jollity reigns over all.
But, alas, the storm of last October had made the uncertain
channel even more uncertain and suddenly we find ourselves stuck on a
sand-bar. Hard and patient work, the men and boys even going over
board to try to push it off, brought no results and we knew there was
only one thing to do, anchor for the night and wait for a high tide to
help us off next morning.
Morning came but the tide seemed lower than ever. Mr. Raymond and
other experienced seamen decided that it would probably be one o'clock
before we could get off and this meant reaching St. Pete too late for
the football game that afternoon.
A happy thought from someone, the steamer from Bradentown would be
passing near and soon, so Mr. Creavy with a scouting party started out
in a row boat to hail the passing steamer. By ten o'clock, all except
Messrs. Colbert and Johnson had been transferred in row boats to the
steamer and we were again speeding toward St. Pete, reaching there
between one and two o'clock.
Our stay in St. Pete, tho' of brief duration, was very pleasant
most of the time being spent in trying to get our players physically
fit to play. And then the games.
Never has Gwynne High sent out representatives that she should
feel so proud of as she does of those boys and girls who put up such a
creditable fight and under such trying circumstances. Weak from
seasickness and lack of food, they fought with undaunted courage. Both
scores went in favor of St. Pete, the football score being 6 to 0 the
basket ball score was 13 to 12.
However we felt sure, had we played under normal conditions, our
colors would have flown higher than St. Pete's.
Just as the football game was over, about 4:30 o'clock, we saw the
"Nepenthe" come moving into dock and by twelve o'clock that night she
was moving out with her load, homeward bound.
Evidently the deep had wreaked her revenge for the trip home tho'
a little rough at times, was very pleasant and comfortable and by
eight o'clock Sunday night we again anchored at Ireland's Dock.
Gwynne High wishes to express her appreciation of the
thoughtful care and loyal support given by those who accompanied the
teams on this trip -- viz: Captains Johnson, Colbert and Heusted, Mr.
Raymond, Mr. Creavy, Mr. and Mrs. McClure and Mesdames Bass and
Colbert. Greeney [the reporter's byline]
In the author's correspondence with Sam Schooley he says that Coach Orr
asserted that the FMHS players at that ill-fated contest with St Pete
in December of 1921 kept saying to one another, "Look out for that
Green Wave!" Referring, one presumes, to the recent bout with mal de
mer and the less-than-pleasant boat trip in general.
It is logical to assume that the banter on the grid or the court was
such that soon the FMHS teams were called "The Green Wave" by players
and opponents alike. Thus beginneth the legend...or does it?
In his book: "Gridiron Greenies", Bobby Sizemore states that
there are several possibilities of how the "Green Wave" name began -
one being the proximity to the beautiful green Gulf of Mexico and the
obvious "wave" reference. He also relates a version of the story
documented above. Mr. Sizemore further avers that the first
journalistic reference to the FMHS football team as "the Green Wave"
appeared in the October 8, 1927 edition of the Tropical News (Article).
Another possibility is that the close attention and care given the teams
by their team physicians of early eras reinforced the further use and
development of the name, Drs. Fred Bartleson (FMHS 1922) and Baker
Whisnant, long time team physicians, were alumni of Tulane University
Medical School. Dr. Fred was a member of that ill-fated 1921 boat trip.
Both doctors were devoted and avid fans of the FMHS teams! And...
their old Tulane team was and IS known as THE GREEN WAVE!
No one has the final word on WHERE and HOW the name originated. All
the hearsay and documentation just doesn't pin it down for sure, but
the name GREEN WAVE and GREENIES stuck and will always be rallying
cries for good old FMHS! Yay!
POSSIBLE NAMES AND GRADUATING CLASSES
FOR STUDENTS ON THE ST PETE TRIP:
FRED DURANT BARTLESON 1922
CHARLES COOPER 1922
MAE [MAY] HAND 1924
WINFIELD HENDRY 1922
VICTOR HEUSTED 1923
D B JOHNSTON 1922
BERTHA LEWIS 1924
CLARENCE PENROD 1924
MAE PARISH 1924
BILLY RAYMOND 1924
ERNEST RAYMOND 1922
ELEANOR SMITH 1923
EWING "UNK" STARNES 1924
OLIVE STOUT 1923
BONITA WIGGINS 1923
ELEANOR WOOLSLAIR (BARTLESON) 1922
CHARLES WOOD 1924
MARY WOOLSLAIR (SHEPPARD) 1924
Who created the FMHS logo? And when?
Working on this... anyone have any contributions?
What is the relationship between The Andrew D Gwynne High School
and Fort Myers High School?
From Nancye Clark (FMHS 1950) and other sources:
Although the records are not complete, there was instruction for students at
the senior levels in Fort Myers in the 1800s. Mostly they were "one room"
schools. One in particular was a county building called "The Barn"
Andrew D Gwynne, a winter visitor to Fort Myers, noticed that The Barn was
crowded and not adequate for the students. He said that if they, the Lee
County Board of Public Instruction (LCBPI) would build a new and better one,
that he would contribute to it financially. Gwynne died before that happened,
but his heirs followed his wishes and financed a new school building,
promising to match funds raised by the LCBPI. After some dissention over
accepting money from an "outsider" (See Fort Myers Press, January 20, 1910)
the Gwynne funding was accepted. The Gwynne family awarded $8000 to match
fundscollected by a campaign headed by Carl F. Roberts. An additional $10,000
was raised with a bond issue and the final cost of the building designed to
hold 400 students was $45,000 and dedicated with the name "The Andrew D Gwynne
Institute". From 1911 through 1914 it held grades 1 through 12 and was
overcrowded from the beginning. The LCBPI recognized the situation and
approved new construction in 1914.
Some facts (?) and comments:
The 1915 Seniors were graduated from the NEW Gwynne High School, 1915-24.
Fort Myers High School or FMHS was once Andrew D Gwynne High School (for
about 10 years, from 1915-1924).
The other Gwynne building, constructed in 1911 (Gwynne Institute) had high
school classes only from 1911 to 1914.
The first Caloosahatchian was published in 1914.
[The information sources on the THREE buildings housing the high school in
this era are in conflict at this point. Research continues.]
Any ORIGINAL material Copyright © 2007-2010 Thomas G Stewart
Last edit: 08/02/10 11:18am