Tales of the Little Thompson
Eight students graduated from Berthoud High School (BHS) in 1907. That year the “Berthoud School” was located in the city block that is now occupied by Fickel Park. Students in grades one through 12 attended classes at the Berthoud School that had been built in 1894 and doubled in size in 1904. It would not be until 1920 that another school building was built in Berthoud to house the town’s junior and senior high school students. After the older students moved to the new building the original school in present-day Fickel Park was the exclusive domain of elementary school students.
The eight-person BHS class of 1907 was composed of two young men — Clifton McGlothlan and Fred Hartford — and six young women — Lelia Myrtle Stockwell, Emma Viola Bennett, Mabel Burnette Bein, Mable B. Curtis, Ina Emo Hankins and Tena Ruth Waggener.
One week prior to their commencement the Berthoud Bulletin reported, “Thursday evening at 5:30 the members of the senior class of the high school and two of the teachers sat down to a splendid course dinner at the home of Mr. and Mrs. McAllaster, as guests of the class valedictorian, Fred Hartford. The home was beautifully decorated with the class colors, blue and white.
“After dinner the evening was spent playing games, while a phonograph dispensed sweet music. Several piano solos were very well rendered by Albert Hartford, which were very much appreciated by all present.”
Fred Hartford, host of the party and the 1907 BHS valedictorian, was the son of John Hartford, a partner in a Berthoud general store who had died in 1892. The party was held at the home of his stepfather, Frank McAllaster, who owned a house at 436 Welch Ave. The piano solos that entertained the party-goers were performed by Hartford’s younger brother, Albert.
On the following evening, May 16, 1907, Miss Lola Turner and Professor Van Hoose, the teachers most closely associated with the senior class, hosted a reception for the graduates at the Odd Fellows Hall. The Nonna Bella Country Italian Restaurant is presently located on the ground floor of the historic Odd Fellows Hall at 335 Mountain Ave.
Graduation formalities got underway on May 17, 1907, when the annual baccalaureate service was held at the United Brethren Church at the corner of Fourth Street and Mountain Avenue. The local tabloid later reported, “The baccalaureate sermon to the senior class of the Berthoud High School was delivered at the U.B. church on Sunday evening by Rev. W.L. Cline. The service was a union meeting of the various churches and the house was filled to overflowing. The text was taken from Proverbs 4:7—‘Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding,’ and from this Rev. Cline drew many helpful thoughts, making it a profitable evening for all in attendance. Other pleasing features included vocal solos by Mrs. G. A. Turner and Mr. Irwin Veasey.”
The graduation ceremony for the BHS class of 1907 on May 23, 1907, was also held at the United Brethren Church. A few days later the Berthoud Bulletin reported, “Commencement was one of the most successful in the annals of Berthoud high school. Under the supervision of Professor Van Hoose and Miss Turner, the seniors acquitted themselves most favorably. The splendid music of the evening was very good, and the seniors will go forth with the best wishes of all.”