The History of Sports in Waltham

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    Fred Smerlas, NFL Superstar
Below are some articles on the History of Sports, from the Waltham Museum's Newsletter.

 Jack Leary, Cliff Richardson, Irad Hardy, Chick McGahan and all the great football players of Waltham's past would have been very proud of this year's team. They had a record of eight wins, one tie and one loss. The crowning achievement was beating Brockton 33-7 on Thanksgiving Day. Brockton which has a student body almost twice that of Waltham had been winning this game for almost 20 years. Some of the players of the Waltham team are Jeb Boudreau, Jeff Hines, Marc Bourgeois, Joe Burgoyne and Joe DiRicco.

Coach Don Keohane has done an outstanding job since he took over in the early 1990's. This year the Boston Herald rated Waltham as the third best team in the state.

 In 1858, Englishmen were brought to Waltham to work at the growing American Watch Company. With them, they brought their national game of cricket. One of the first things they did was to pitch their wickets on Waltham Common and begin to show their American cousins the fine points of the game. At that time, there were no organized athletic sports in Waltham. The Americans became enthusiastic and formed the Rumford Cricket Club with Dr. R.S. Warren, Gardner Banks, Ned Howe, Charles Gale, Thomas Farnsworth, Francis Buttrich and others.

When the 4th of July came, a match was played on the Common between the English eleven and the Rumfors before an immense crowd of people. The game of cricket was the most absorbing and fascinating thing that could possibly come into a boy's life at that time. The game took like wildfire among the school boys and several clubs were formed. The names of some of these teams were the Eagles, Stars, Massasoit, West End, Bleachery, and later, the New Church School. They also played at Lowell Field and S. D. Warren Field. After the Civil War, horse racing, another English sport, became popular at Central Park in Waltham.  

Canoeing on the Charles River is a big part of Waltham's sports history. Two names come to mind when one thinks of canoeing in Waltham. Herbert P. Arnold operated Arnold's Boat House at 299 Crescent Street for most of the early part of this century, and James G. Burgin was proprietor of the Woerd Avenue Boat House during this same period.

Recently while reading an August 1943 booklet put out by W. H. Nichols Company there was an interesting story concerning these two men. It happened on August 31, 1893, when George Smith, a young man from Somerville went swimming in the Charles River behind 279 Crescent Street. Smith dove into the water and never came up. Boys nearby saw this and rushed to the canoe clubhouse. James Burgin was there and dove in. He brought out Smith who had turned black and laid him on the wharf. Luckily Bert Arnold was going by in his canoe. At that time Arnold was employed at Forest Grove and knew about resuscitating a nearly drowned person.

Burgin and Arnold worked on young Smith and brought him to consciousness when Dr. Stiles got there. Smith eventually recovered. It was later learned that 18-year-old Smith had a heart disease and the sudden contact with the water gave him a severe shock. The accident occurred at five o'clock and Smith was under ten feet of water for seven minutes.

In later years, James Burgin became a night watchman for W. H. Nichols for many years.

As we noted on page one, Ron Burckes of the Class of 1928 sang the Waltham football team song used until 1928. The Waltham Museum never heard about such a song and asked Burckes to send us the lyrics, which he did. This is how it goes:

Waltham Victory Song (writer unknown)

Here come the team boys ; Banners let fly

Their bound to win for ; Old Waltham High

And while their fighting ; Let's show that we have no fears

And let the hills echo ; With our cheers Rah Rah Rah

Out from the barge ; They dash on the field

On to the fray and ; Glory twill yield

While we all cry ; Win boys or die

For you are fighting for the fame ; Of Waltham High

So stick to it boys ; Play the game every man

Fight it to a finish ; Do the best that you can

While we shout victory ; While we shout victory

While we shout victory ; And Waltham High Forever

Elsie Mae Cheney who graduated from Waltham High school in 1930 wrote our present song, "Give a Cheer for Waltham High."

The Waltham High School Class of 1928, who will celebrate their 70th reunion, had a football team that won 5, lost 4 and tied 1 game.

The team had Martowski (fb), Pendergast (lhb), Caminiti (rhb), Roy (qb), Arnold (le), Hardy (lt), Wright (lg), Winterhalter (c), Levison (rg), Cassidy (rt), and Perna (re).

Fifty years ago in March of 1948 the Waltham High School basketball team entered the Tech Tournament with a record of 14 wins and 3 losses. The Suburban League champs consisted of Captain Tony Bahros, Ken Cormier, Chet Muise, Walter Bartlett, Richard White, and Joe Arsenault. This was Coach Art Quinn's third Tech Tourney team in five years.

In the first round Waltham beat Salem by a score of 36 to 19. Then in the semi-finals they met a great Durfee team and lost by one point, 36 to 35 in a double overtime sudden death period. This game was said to be one of the most thrilling games ever played in the tournament since it began.

In the sports scrapbook listed under donations, there is a newspaper clipping comparing the weights of the 1926 undefeated Waltham High School football team with the 1929 team which almost went undefeated.

They lost to undefeated B.C. High on November 23.


Waltham High School

Undefeated Football Team




Waltham High School

Almost Undefeated Football Team


Joseph Donahue, le

Ernest Concannon, lt

Henry Rogers, lg

Paul Winterhalter, c

W. Dangelmayer,         rg

Hugh Greenblott,          rt

Donald Ward, re

Melvin Downing, qb

George Connolly, lhb

Francis Ryan, rhb

Tony Siano, fb/c

143 lbs.












William Stankard, le

Arthur Logan, lt

Adam Danosky, lg

Carl Anderson, c

Edward Furbush, rg

Elwood Johnson, rt

Donald Smith, c/re

Alessandro Miele, qb

Wm. Pendergast, lhb

Stanley Krol, rhb

William Gerrie, fb

138 lbs.












Theodore Fogliani, e

Alex. Chapman, t

Ernest Wright, g

S. Hanscom, c

Thomas Guy , b

Henry Burke, b








E. Spaulding , e

Angelo Taranto, t

L. Hanselpacker, t

Morrison Shirley, c

Elmer Beagan, b

William Greig, b








 In the 1945 Waltham High School yearbook, Jack Leary was asked to name his all-football team during his 25 years of coaching.

They were [le] Buzz Hogan (Purdue); [t] Irad Hardy (Harvard); [lt] Joe Zeno (Holy Cross); C. Dudley Bell (Harvard); [rg] Ernie Schwotzer (Boston College); [rt] Ernie Concannon (NYU); [re] Binker Smith (Mass State); [qb] Larry Lowrey (Holy Cross); [hb] Bill Pendergast (Manhattan); [hb] Pat Ryan (NYU); [fb] Johnny Krol (Dartmouth).

 In 1936 and 1937 the Waltham High Hockey team was the Bay State Champions. Walter Brinn was the coach of the team and his star players were Art Shaughnessy, John Krol and Curley Harvey. As mentioned above, Everett Dunbrack, listed as Gordon Dunbrack, was the goalie on these teams.

A picture of the 1936 hockey team with all players identified was part of the Dow donation on page 2 of this newsletter. Also the 1937 Bay State Championship hockey puck was part of the donation. It will be placed in the Sports Room of the museum.

 In the Elmer Meade donation was one of Frank Murphy's sports reports of about 15 years ago. It reads, "The past week's Bob Hope Classic in Palm Springs saw Waltham native George "Scorpy" Doyle very much in the thick of things with celebrity friends. He was a guest at the red-roofed Bob Hope mountainside house. "Scorpy" numbers a whole flock of celebrities among his friends including Frank Sinatra, Jerry Ford, phil Harris, Dean Martin, and Marvin Davis."

The sports report also tells about the death of Harold Levison.".... He was a fixture at guard on Jack Leary's teams of the 1920s, notably that which shares the distinction with Haverhill High as undefeated state co-champions. Levison paired up with Ernest (Red) Wright who was the captain in 1927. Unforgettable for old-timers was the Athletic Field game between Waltham and Haverhill, a scoreless tie featuring a game saving tackle by Pat Ryan."

Recently we ran across this article in the Daily-Free Press Tribune of October 15, 1914. It read, Metz Workers Form League, Organize Teams to Bowl During Winter. The 10 Metz teams bowled every Monday night at the President Alleys at the corner of Walnut and Moody Streets. The teams were the Grinders, Trimmers, Drill Dept., Painters, Carpenters, Brazing Dept., Engine Dept., Automatic Dept., Tool Making and Press Dept.. Joseph Tarrenkopp was president, William Stevens was secretary, and Clayton Taft was treasurer. Others on the bowling committee were John Hay, Louis Melanson, Delbert Hanson, Joseph Chosid, William Nokes, Joseph Murphy, Fred Barrows, Louis Laforet, Arthur Shawfus and John Coakley. This was a period in Waltham when the Metz Company was the largest producer of automobiles east of Detroit.

 The Waltham Roadsters

In the last ten years of the 19th Century, bicycling was sweeping the country and no more so than in Waltham where Bicycle Park was located. In the Sports Room of the Waltham Museum we have a 1900 picture of a men's bicycle club at Bicycle Park. We weren't able to identify these 22 men with R's on their shirt until we recently ran across a publication of the Waltham Roadsters. Here is the story:

The Club was organized on April 29, 1896 and was first known as the Norumbega Club and later the North Star Club before they became the Roadsters. The charter members were George A. Bacon, Charles Hall, Arthur Brodrick, Clarence Hamilton, Harry Carr, Allan Mosher, William Dow, Frank Whitten and Orin Winn.

The Roaster Club which held its meetings at the old Broom Factory at 70 Robbins Street would make frequent trips to Chestnut Hill, Revere Beach, the Chute the Chutes in Boston, and other favorite gathering spots for cyclists.

The Roadsters developed several good cyclist racers, namely Everett Ryan, Chub Fiske and Harry Carr. Later a football team was organized and for seven years the Roadster-Quinobin football game was THE GAME for Waltham fans on Thanksgiving Day. (Note: This was before high school football was organized in 1903.)

The Club also expanded into other sports such as boxing, ice-polo, and bowling. However, their lady friends organized their own club called the Merry-Go-Round Club that interfered with the Roadsters program by conducting parties with games, eats , dances, and whist parties. Soon the social affairs became a large and important factor with the Roadsters.

The Club moved to the Boat House at the Woerd Avenue Bridge on Packard Cove around 1910. Athletics at this time had taken a minor place in Club routine.

In 1917 World War I came and with it the end of the Roadsters. Members who served in World War I were Ball Bartlett, Ralph Butler, Walter Evans, John Munroe, Waldo Richardson, Nelson Picket, Percy Reed, Dexter Winslow, Raymond Hutmacher and Harold Leach who died during the war.

The Club did have annual reunions until 1946.

 One very interesting statistic we ran across was on Jack Leary. In his four years of playing football for Waltham High (1906 to 1909), he scored an amazing 84 touchdowns, averaging 21 per year. This record stands today in Waltham.

Waltham High School football was at a fever pitch in 1929. On exhibit in the Sports Room of the Waltham Museum is the November 28, 1929 edition of the Waltham News-Tribune in which the front page headlines state in two-inch lettering, BROCKTON MAKES FIRST HOLIDAY TRIP IN HISTORY TO WALTHAM.

Statistics of the football players are listed directly below this headline. William Stankard was the left end at 161 lbs., Arthur Logan was the left tackle at 240 lbs., Adam Danosky was left guard at 155 lbs., Carl Anderson was the center at 174 lbs., Edward Furbush was the right guard at 161 lbs., Edward Johnson was the right tackle at 171 lbs., Donald Smith was the right end at 153 lbs., Alessandro Miele was the quarterback at 147 lbs., William Pendergast was the left halfback at 155 lbs., Stanley Krol was the right halfback at 144 lbs., and William Gerrie was fullback at 150 lbs..

Waltham won the game 7 to 6 and would have won the title but for a heart breaking lost to B.C. High earlier.

In June 1886, the same year that the Piety Corner Club was started, six men associated with the Pond End group began to play tennis. They were C.F.A. Smith, E.L. Sanderson, N.E. Smith, C.A. Stearns, S.E. Tyler, and L.N. Childs. In 1889 they organized under the name of Prospect Tennis Club. The membership increased to seventeen and their lady friends were allowed free use of the court. The club was very active socially, holding lawn and river parties in the summer, dances in the winter as well as holding many tennis tournaments. This was the center of tennis playing in Waltham at that time. In 1897 the members summer interest shifted to canoeing and the Piety Corner Club took over the tennis club's operations. On April 20, 1950, after 64 years, the tennis club went out of existence. Edmund L. Sanderson, a charter member of the club and a Waltham historian, was involved with the club till the end. E. Elizabeth Bryden who belonged to this tennis club in the 30's and 40's provided us with this information. This tennis club was similar to the Roadster Club of Waltham that we wrote about in our July 1995 newsletter. It shows the clean cut fun young people had 100 years ago in Waltham.

In 1897, Pat Carroll of Waltham held the American record for running the mile. He challenged Tincler, the British Isle champion, to a race for the world championship.

On July 4, 1897 the race was the feature of an all day picnic at Lake Walden in Concord. The Fitchburg Railroad ran excursion trains, carrying huge crowds of people from the Waltham depot eager to see the American and British champion race. However, the buildup came to a sad endings as Tincler won the race.

Also in 1897, horse racing at Central Park and bicycle racing at Bicycle Park were still popular. The automobile had not arrived on the scene as yet.  

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