(COVINGTON, La.) — St. Paul’s School campus has undergone numerous changes and renovations in its 104-year history. Sometimes, with all of the renovations, construction, and changes, it becomes difficult to imagine what life was like 50 years ago on the campus of St. Paul’s School.
Like any long-tenured establishment, rumors, myths, and legends have risen from the stories of those who once walked the school’s halls. Does President Bro. Ray Bulliard, FSC, actually use portals to transport from class to class so quickly? Are the rising prices of candy due to Sarge’s involvement in the Illuminati? Sadly, neither of these are true, but some other equally incredible school legends are.
5) SPS vs. LSU
Coach Phil Williams has surely done well during his time here at St. Paul’s as head basketball coach, but is his program up to taking down the LSU Fighting Tigers? According to archive sources, in 1923, St. Paul’s College defeated LSU in a basketball game which took place in what is now the Alumni Memorial Theatre. In 1955, the Gene Bennett Sports Complex’s main gym (then known as the St. Jude Center) was built, and the historic gym transitioned into a large classroom, later a theater. The Alumni Memorial Theatre is not only one of the most historic buildings on St. Paul’s campus, but also in the city of Covington.
4) Horse Stalls in Right Field
Up until the 1940s, the main means of transportation in Covington was by horse. In fact, St. Paul’s actually had its own horse stalls on campus, along with other livestock. The stalls were located where present day right field lies at Heap Field. So, next time you attend a baseball game at Heap Field, know that its rather likely that the right fielder is standing in what used to be a large pile of horse droppings.
3) Mini-golf Course at SPS
Back when St. Paul’s was a boarding school, the boarders needed to stay entertained during the weekends and after school. Ways to do so included sporting events, a lounging area, a recreation room, and miniature golf.
Yes, there used to be a miniature golf course located on our campus. It was located between Benilde and LaSalle Halls. The course was constructed in the 1960s and was taken down over 20 years ago, but there are still remnants of the course on campus. Have you ever noticed that between Benilde and LaSalle Hall stands an old, broken lamp post in the middle of the grassy area? That post was located in the center of the course, lighting up the grounds as students enjoyed themselves. Also, the wrought iron sign that is currently in front of the Briggs Assembly Center spelling out “St. Paul’s” used to be in front of the course.
2) Underground Tunnels
Most students have asked the question, “How does Bro. Ray travel from classroom to classroom so quickly?” Many theories have tried to explain this phenomenon, such as portals, high speed golf carts, and tunnels. Believe it or not, there actually are tunnels underneath the grounds of St. Paul’s School.
Unfortunately, these “tunnels” are not used for human transportation. They are simply underground drainage tunnels, barely large enough for a smaller student to crawl through. According to Robert Simpson, St. Paul’s religion teacher and SPS alumnus, students often crawled through these tunnels until their entrances were closed a decade ago.
So where do these tunnels lead to? Some believe they had exits at every building; some even claim that there was a “super tunnel” that led to SSA. Unfortunately, these tunnels were simple and short and no evidence supports otherwise. Even though the tunnel exits were closed years ago, the tunnels still sit below the grounds of campus.
1) Underground Shooting Range
During the summer of 1987, drama director Denny Charbonnet’s first with St. Paul’s, she was working a summer camp in the Theatre. During the camp, Charbonnet looked down into a crack in a door on the ground and saw what appeared to be a pair of eyes staring back up at her. After gaining the access to the key to this unknown room, she saw that these eyes actually belonged to an old statue that once stood on campus. Charbonnet did not stop at the statue; she continued to explore this room under the theater stage and floor. She claims to have found, in the back of the room, a set of targets along with empty bullet cartridges. What else could empty cartridges and targets be a part of, besides a shooting range? A shooting range was actually rather common in American boarding schools in the 20th century, as many taught the art of riflery.
This room was locked away after renovations to the Alumni Memorial Theatre in the school year of 1998-1999. The targets and cartridges found were never removed from this room. Therefore, the remains of a shooting range are still beneath the grounds of campus.
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For an entertaining look at another campus myth,
watch the Guerrilla Wolves spoof on the alleged haunting of Lasalle Hall
in the first episode of “Mystery Adventures”.
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Article photo and copy editing credit: Nick Ashton