Fall 1998

Taking Indianapolis by Storm

Exceptional fan support is a Wabash tradition. Here's a glimpse at Wabash fans and the forerunner to the current Pep Band as they were in the 1920s.

While the Little Giants were toiling on the gridiron or on the courts, the rest of us were giving them our exuberant support. We were a vocal crowd, making up for our lack of numbers with superior lung power.


Supporting the cheerleaders in their effort to create some excitement was the Sea Goin' Band. The name originated in the 20s when the band wore scarlet sweaters and round sailor hats with a tassel. We made respectable music even though we practiced but once a week.

The Indianapolis Star carried this article about the band's visit to the Indiana capital in the 1920s:

"Wabash has something that no other college has. Just what it is no one can say exactly, but it is there. It defies analysis Other colleges may come to town with bigger bands, more students, more automobiles and more banners, but none of them is marked by that individuality and punch which characterizes the arrival of the Little Giants.

"Saturday, with a roarin' 500 students, a big dog, and the greatest aggregation of sizzling, steaming, rattling motorized tin cans ever gathered together they took Indianapolis by storm. The hearts of all of Indianapolis warmed to the Wabash rooters. Their singing of 'Old Wabash,' one of the greatest of all college songs, at the Claypool was marvelous."


-excerpted from Of Precious Memory by Bill Starr '37. Used by permission.


This cartoon of the "Sea Goin' Band" was drawn by Dave Gerard '31. The nationally syndicated creator of "Citizen Smith" and other cartoons for publications including The Saturday Evening Post and Country Gentleman, Gerard, along with Frank Beaven '29, Bandel Linn '32, and Allen Saunders '20, was one of four Wabash members of a "team" of cartoonists known as "The Sugar Crick Art School."

"Five of the nation's most prolific, dizzy, well-known creators of comics strips come from the cornfields and elm-shaded villages of Montgomery County," Country Gentleman editor Arnold Nicholson wrote in 1938. Tom Henderson '42 joined the celebrated group in the 1940s.

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