High School Hangouts

 

________________________________________________________________________

Groovin’ all Week with You

All most all high schools have off-campus hangouts where students congregate to pursue their interests in food, the opposite sex and cars; not necessarily in that order. These hangouts vary, but they all share a commonality and serve a highly beneficial purpose.

University of Cincinnati Professor Keith King agrees, saying teens’ developmental progress is greatly helped by keeping them engaged, socially active and busy.

Back in the B.C. days (before CMR) Great Falls High students spent their free time hanging out at the Burg, Sandy’s, Gary’s, the A&W, or at various parking lots along the route as a respite while cruising the drag.

Back in the B.C. days (before CMR) Great Falls High students spent their free time hanging out at the Burg, Sandy’s, Gary’s, the A&W, or at various parking lots along the route as a respite while cruising the drag.

Even further back in history, Great Falls High had the Hi School Store. Built at the same time as GFH, the Store was the go to place in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, and later in the 70’s when it was called Dugout Lunches. In the early years, when most kids didn’t own cars, the Store was remarkably convenient, right across the street, but still an escape from the confines or the GFH campus and it provided fun, food and the opposite sex.

High school hangouts have been a focus of many TV shows and movies like Arnold’s in Happy Days and American Graffiti.

Stadium High School in Tacoma, easily the most beautiful high school in the country, has its own student hangout, Shake Shake Shake, which is only a short walk from the school and a great place for students to eat and socialize.

Shake Shake Shake

Shake Shake Shake

In other words, it is a distinct benefit to have a high school hangout that kids can walk to, unlike the current drag strip down 20th Street, that occurs at lunch, and after school at Great Falls High.

During high school I was totally indoctrinated by the music and culture of southern California and I knew that’s where I wanted to be after graduation from Great Falls High. I was accepted to a college in LA and was ready to hit the beach and enjoy everything I had heard about, including California girls.

Little did I know that just a couple of miles away was the Wich Stand on Slauson, not too far from Hawthorne High School and the favorite high school hangout of Brian Wilson. The Stand was the hotrodders paradise. If you had a hot rod, or a cool car, which I did, this was the place to be after school, or on a Friday or Saturday night. Wow, how did I get so lucky! The only bummer was that by the time I discovered the Stand, where Brian Wilson and the Survivors occasionally played, Wilson’s other band, the Beachboys, had made the big time.

Wich Stand

Brian, was not only the song-writing genius of the Beachboys, but he also wrote the song “Wich Stand” for the Surviviors. A typical Friday night always included cruisin’ the Stand and the A, which was short for the A&W about 5 miles away from the Stand on Hawthorne Boulevard and it was the inspiration for another Brian Wilson song, “Root Beer (Chug-A-Lug)”.

By this time, some of you are wondering when I am going to criticize our local school district. Okay, here it is – As Rahm Emanuel famously said; “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste”.

Once the school district demolishes the Hi School Store (Campfire Building) and turns the property into a parking lot, an opportunity to restore “The Store” to its previous place in Great Falls High School history, will be almost totally lost. I say almost lost because the CPL (Campfire Parking Lot) will likely become an off-campus gathering place, just not what it could be, a real high school hangout out with food, friends, and fun, during inclement weather.

Hang Loose!

________________________________________________________________________

 

Avatar
Philip M. Faccendahttp://www.straymoose.com
Philip M. Faccenda is an AIA award-winning architect and planner. He is the Editor-in-Chief of E-City Beat.

5 COMMENTS

  1. I am in favor of keeping the “favorite spot”; the building should not be doomed to become a “small” EXPENSIVE parking lot. This is a historical building if it was built the same time as Great Falls High. I ask all of you, students include, to put our brains, ambition, and integrity, together to “brainstorm” ideas on how the building could become the present-day gathering place for students, teachers, and community members.

    I agree with Philip when he stated: “In other words, it is a distinct benefit to have a high school hangout that kids can walk to, unlike the current drag strip down 20th Street, that occurs at lunch, and after school at Great Falls High.”

    So what is best for the STUDENTS? I was talking to a young girl recently. She stated kids don’t cruise the drag, don’t hang out at places like the Burg and Sandy’s. They hang out at homes where they are safe from curfew times, and the chance of being pulled over. The STUDENTS NEED this gathering place!!

    How could all groups: parents, school, community members, students, and other interested groups come together to brainstorm possible uses for the school district “Campfire Building”?

    SAVE THE STORE; A LOT NO MORE!

  2. Thank you Susan Ashley, Your suggestion that we bring various groups together to explore how we can save “The Store” is an excellent idea. In Fact, I submitted a secondary buy-sell offer after the District’s agent executed theirs. My offer was higher than the District’s offer of $100,000. I was pleasantly surprised when an E-City Beat reader, and retired GFH teacher commented that he had always wanted to return the Campfire building to its former use as a soup and sandwich shop, in other words, a high school hangout. To which I replied that if he was interested in participating in such an effort, we could certainly work together. The Montana State Historic Preservation Office, the City Planning staff and members of the City / County Historic Preservation Commission, are all opposed to the school district’s plan to demolish the perfectly sound structure and put in an expensive parking lot. I believe the first step is to contact the GFPS District Board of Trustees and let them know how we feel. One email will go to all trustees; schoolboard@gfps.k12.mt.us. Again, thank you Susan, we can do this if we work together!

  3. My husband and I e-mailed the School Board and we encourage others to do the same to save the Campfire building. We are bother retired teachers from Montana.

  4. Thank You Susan! Someone suggested that the school district should lease the property to us for $1 a year like they do for Paris Gibson Square, An absolutely great idea. I hope more readers will email the school board like Susan and Dean. schoolboard@gfps.k12.mt.us

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

ARCHIVES