School Nicknames, Kindergarten Memories and a History Mystery

From Time to Thyme

By Paula Dunn

Time for another reader column!

Several weeks ago when I asked for information on the origins of Hamilton County’s various high school nicknames, Jeanne Flanders wanted me to include the county schools that are no longer around — Walnut Grove, Jackson Central, Cicero, Arcadia, Atlanta, Adams Township/Boxley and Durbin. 

Unfortunately, I didn’t have room for them in the earlier columns.

That wasn’t the only problem, though. The biggest stumbling block was that the further back in history I went, the less information was available. Although I was able to come up with nicknames and school colors for some of those schools, I couldn’t find any stories that explained why the nicknames were chosen.

Jackson Central and Walnut Grove, the two schools that combined to create Hamilton Heights, were the Eagles and the Wolves, respectively. Jackson Central’s school colors were red, white and blue. Walnut Grove’s colors were gold and purple.

Jackson Central was itself a consolidation of the Atlanta Cardinals, whose colors were red and white; the Arcadia Dragons, whose colors were black and gold; and the Cicero Red Devils, whose colors were also red and white.

In the early 1900s, all Adams Township students who didn’t attend Sheridan High School went to school in Boxley. In the beginning, that school was called both “Adams Township High School” and “Boxley High School.” Eventually, it became just “Boxley High School,” but I don’t know if that was an official change or if it was something that simply evolved from common usage.

Although I couldn’t find a nickname for Boxley High School, I did run across a mention of the school colors being blue and gold. 

As far as I know, the highest grade ever offered at Durbin was 8th grade, so there were no high school teams. Durbin students usually attended Walnut Grove, Lapel or Noblesville once they reached high school age.

That said, Durbin DID have a junior high basketball team known as the Warriors.

(According to Tom Heller, Durbin’s principal from 1974 to 2002, Middletown Road, which goes right by the school building, was originally an Indian trail and many Wayne Township farmers have discovered Native American artifacts in their fields.)

Several people sent me their own kindergarten memories.

Carol Schmidt, who attended kindergarten at Walnut Grove, wrote that the restrooms there were “puke-green,” too! She also reminded me about the nasty-smelling orange powder janitors would dump anywhere someone got sick.

(Apologies for stirring that memory up if you’re eating right now.)

Larry Cloud noted that half-pint cartons of milk went for two cents back around 1960. (TWO CENTS!)

He added that when he was younger, the milk at his school came in little glass bottles with paper plugs and paper caps. Each plug had a small tab covering that could be peeled back to uncover a hole for a straw.

Sticking kindergartens in basements must have been a thing in the 1950s and ‘60s.

In Noblesville, the kindergartens of both First Ward and Second Ward were in basements. (Second Ward’s kindergarten was in the basement of the Masonic Temple.) Third Ward also had a kindergarten, but I couldn’t find a description of its location in the building. (I bet it was in the basement, too, though!)

It wasn’t just Noblesville. My cousin, the Dancing Librarian, reported that her kindergarten was in the basement of Sheridan’s Carnegie library.

Finally, Nicole Kobrowski pointed out a street in Strawtown called “St. No 15.” She wondered if the street’s odd name might refer to a railroad stop. Neither the railroad, nor the interurban went through Strawtown, however, so that seems unlikely.

I haven’t been able to come up with any other guesses as to how the street came by its name. Does anyone know the story behind “St. No 15?”

Paula Dunn’s From Time to Thyme column appears on Wednesdays in The Times. Contact her at