SMA - North Barracks

North Barracks - Post Office, Commandant's Office, Library, Dorm, Gym
Note the SMA Eagle above the Main Door

Photograph courtesy Hunter Henry, SMA '46



James Cunningham, SMA '56

SMA was a four-year experience for me, thus my only secondary schooling, and living in the Chicago area for most of my working life limited any visits to Staunton after graduation. However, I took one nostalgic trek through adolescence in the early 1980's and found myself on The Hill as the academy buildings were being raised.

South Barracks, the only place I lived, was already history, and at North Barracks the wrecking crew was just getting warmed up.   As I walked over to the grand old building, I remembered how walking into the first-floor post office to check mail was as much of a routine as avoiding an SE2.

When I got to the building, I went down to the gym where I found the basketball court was being pulled up, and laying on top of a growing mound of planks was the old scoreboard.   A workman looked up at me and asked if I had gone to school at SMA.   I confessed that I had, and he granted me absolution in the form of offering me the scoreboard logo plywood, painted blue with gold lettering forming the word "Sentinels."   At what junction "Sentinels" replaced "Hilltoppers" remains a mystery to me, but I remembered playing on that discarded floor and holding "Hot Rod" Hundley to 49 points.   I took the sign, and "Sentinels" now graces my wine cellar bar and regularly reminds me of Len Rosenbluth and the host of great players of that era.

As I turn to leave the bar and look at that blue-and-gold sign, I think that, for me, SMA was as good as I recall and never as bad as it probably was.   What's important to me now are the memories, particularly the ones we get to own exclusively, and also, as I turn to the door and reach for the switch, remember to tell the last one standing to turn out the light.

Photograph above by Malcolm L. Kantzler, SMA ' 65
Scanning capability courtesy Hunter Henry, SMA '46

Looking south, up from Echo Field, the terraced grass and stone that once was North Barracks says little of the life that passed in that space through the century past.  On that spot, the gymnasium was home for sports and dances, including the annual Military Ball, and in the floors above, the quiet, learning space of the library was in stark contrast to the shouts across rails and foot-falls on steps and wooden walkways that echoed off and ringed three floors of living quarters in the quadrangle above.

Wieland Gate is visible at the extreme left edge of the photograph.

Corps Assembly

Rifle Drill

North - The Dead of Winter Night

Bad Hair Day at the Commandant's Office

'46 Onesty Grudge Fight (before North had a covered quadrangle)
Photographs not otherwise credited are courtesy Sam Killeffer, SMA ' 67, and Bob Horvath, SMA '47

North Barracks, west staircase to Kable Hall
Photograph courtesy John Deal, SMA '49

The Military Ball

Military Ball, 1952
Gen. Eisenhower resigned as Supreme Commander, Europe, elected President.
Photographs above and below courtesy John "Tewks" Tewksbury, SMA '52
He's the tall blond, second from left, second row, above and below.

Military Ball, 1952 - Close-up of the lead waiters.
“There’s something about a man in uniform...” said a lady.

Kidet and date at Military Ball
Photographs courtesy John Deal, SMA '49

Founder Col. Kable's great, great grandson and daughter, Monroe and sister Kable at Stuart Hall.
These tykes are also Ned and Lolo Bonfoey's children.  Ned was Commandant of Cadets in '72 - '74.

Photographs courtesy John Hooser, SMA '73

Founder Col. Kable's great, great grand daughter, Lolo Bonfoey, located the North Barracks eagle in a dump and had it moved back to The Hill, where a casting was made which will be a part of the SMA-VWIL Museum.  The inscription carved into the banner held in the eagle's talons is difficult to read, but is Truth, Honor, Duty.
Photograph courtesy Mark Orr, SMA '76