|Lower photo is at Park and Main looking west on Park. Yegen Brothers Bank (Clark Hotel) in middle distance;|
American Theater at middle right; Metals Bank at left.
By Richard I. Gibson
In November 1919 students from Butte High took to the streets. It wasn’t Homecoming, it wasn’t a protest march, it wasn’t even the first anniversary of Armistice Day yet. It was a parade – actually two parades – marking the successful end to Better English Week.
|Butte High at Park & Idaho|
As part of Better English Week students also performed a play, “Nevertheless,” written by student Stuart Walser and starring Lucille Staebler, Salome Torrence, Fred Sutherland, and John Egan.
A second play, performed by the junior class, was a parody of “Red Riding Hood” written by teacher Miss Ella Spafford, who lived at 1419 West Granite. Leonard Renick, son of Dr. William Renick (727 W. Park Street), played Red Riding Hood.
Students interviewed businessmen across Butte, some of whom claimed they would not employ clerks who used slang and some attributed their success to “correct use of English.” Newsmen told the students that teachers were among the worst offenders for submitting manuscripts with every noun capitalized. They blamed it on study of German.
The campaign included street car advertising, posters created by the Butte High art department, printed articles, and speeches. The Standard reported that “such words and expressions as ‘ain’t,’ ‘swell,’ ‘ain’t he a dear,’ ‘now, ain’t that just too lovely for anything,’ are doomed.”
Sources: Anaconda Standard, Nov. 8, Nov. 9, 1919; City Directories; Sanborn Maps. Post card view of Butte High from Gibson's collection.