The Godwin school system has existed since about 1843. Over the years thousands of students have entered, studied, and gone out into the world to make their mark. The school system has evolved over time to reflect changes in educational needs, the community, and the world. In this way, students in different classes have all experienced a slightly different Godwin.
This site exists to try to paint a historical picture of the Godwin school system through a collection of photographs, documents, and the recollections of the students who attended. World and national events can often conspire to create a sense of eras, and one's school years can seem to be part of something larger. Often as the years pass these eras fade, and one remembers them almost as history. Those attending Godwin during World War II, during the early years of rock and roll, and when Sputnik was launched, all probably have quite different visions of their times.
The material here is meant to reflect the interests of the Godwin alumni, and to that end the material contained here was selected largely by those who supplied it. The site is simply for the enjoyment of Godwin alumni. Suggestions and materials for other topics will always be welcome. The intention is to emphasize information about historical aspects of the Godwin school system - the buildings, people, events and places in the area over the decades. The intention is not to provide any kind of platform for correspondence - for this see Dig Deeper and Other Web Sites., The purpose of this site is to help make material of a general historical nature, the kind that might have appeared in the school newspapers for example, about Godwin available to alumni wherever they are via the Internet.
The site covers years from 1971 back, as far as possible. As a practical matter, that's back to about 1927, the first year for which there was a full 12 year graduating class, and for which there are possibly things like an annual, class photographs, etc. But a few earlier items have already been placed on the site, and hopefully a few more will surface.
The following people (by class year) have to date provided the bulk
of the material on the site, either in the form of material or pointers.
Forest Keyes (1932)
Edna (Carpenter) Keyes (1934)
Mildred M. Fryling (1938)
Mildred I. Annis (1940)
Lewis Lull (1940)
Lillian Annis (1941)
Lee (Tanner) Collins (1941)
Bob McDonald (1943)
Jalene ( Doxtator ) Beattie (1947)
Lee Neugent (1948)
Lewie and Phyllis Start (1948)
Joanne (Dulyea) Hamilton (1951)
Leon Smith (1953)
Clarice Wicks (1953)
Mike Bloore (1955)
Bob Ferguson (1955)
Polly Goeman (1959)
LeRoy Rockwell (1959)
Wayne Pierce (1960)
Bob Traetz (1962)
Pat Laubscher (1963)
Jasper Tamburello (1963)
Jerry Bowersox (1965)
Tammy (Beattie) Kline (1966)
Kim (Shepard) Brown (1970)
Dave Johnson (1987)
It's probably about the last chance to put together a web site for the years of interest here. Gladys Saur died in about 2001, at the age of 96, and Charles Saur in 1997, at the same age. They were both at Godwin during the formative years, between about 1924 and 1950, and the driving force behind the evolution of Godwin from literally a one room school house to a complex of buildings. Together they were involved in every aspect of the school's history during that time. The question is whether any of that history now survives. Did anyone thoroughly interview them at some point, and record the information for use now?
Each decade sees more and more older alumni drop off this mortal coil, and take their memories with them. In many to most cases apparently, any Godwin material they kept is likely as not dumped by their decedents. The school itself has apparently done a house cleaning of what Godwin archive did exist, including photographs, old annuals, class photographs, and the manuscripts that a few would write from time to time to satisfy the requirements of a thesis. Basement floods and house fires take a little more each year. A few have created private collections, for reasons of their own, but these are usually not unavailable to Godwin alumni in general.
So what is still left is a collective body of memories and stories, although each year they go back in time less far, Scrapbooks, which was a common activity up through the 1940s, until TV started to absorb more and more of people's time, class annuals, school newspapers, and photographs. Through incredible good luck, a surprising number the first three annuals, the Acorn for 1929, 1930, and 1931 still exist. In one case the father of a student graduating in the 1930s worked at Godwin and was given an annual each year. So the student ended up having mint condition annuals for every year from 1929 to 1949. It is just luck to find which person might have a historical treasure trove like this, but it does happen.
Collecting material is often a process of word of mouth, luck, someone seeing the web site, and the activities of members of the Golden G Club, who often have the material yet. Going forward, the best use of any material is to make good scans of it so it can be placed on a web site where all Godwin alumni can access it. That done, the loss of original material, and the odds are good that most of it will be lost, is less consequential.
A great deal of material has in fact been lost. The school apparently tossed what archives it had a number of years ago. he vast number of photographs used to make the annuals, and document special events, are nowhere to be found. The endless photos that J. B. Ward took exist, but are in the possession of a family who now refuses to share them. Many were kept by the studios, for example the Camera Shop on Monroe, that sold individual prints. Many of the studios are defunct now, and it's unclear what happened to their photo collections. Hopefully they are around somewhere, as they would be something of a historical resource today, and of much higher quality in general than what has survived. Other material exists to some extent is libraries and historical bodies, but access can be problematic, since preservation usually trumps access.
Yet there is more material around yet than one might initially expect, and something is always enormously better than nothing., But it's pretty clear that some of the most prized material is now out of reach with the loss of people like the Saur's, who would have known every aspect of taking Godwin from a one room school house in 1924 to the enviable institution it was by 1950. Information that might have been easy to get in the 1950s and 1960s is likely lost to time now. Photographs of older structures that were still around in the 1950s could have been had, but the structures are are gone in 2004, and the land around them is often so altered that one cannot tell even where they were. So for those interested in the Godwin of 1963 and before, this is a time critical period in which to bring the people involved and their documents, photographs, and memories together.
The most important aspect of the web site project is getting material digitized so it can be made available via the Internet, which is the key technical aspect of the project. This involves the use of a scanner, which many people have today. At its simplest, the process is nothing much more involved that using a copier, and in many cases that really is all there is to it. One scanned (digitized ) the material is ready for use on the web site. With ordinary care, the material is not in any way harmed by the scanning process.
But much of the material one encounters is discolored and faded. Some of it is part of books and other documents that cannot be abused. More annoying, annuals throughout the decades used different styles. Some used high clay paper, and very sharp images. Others deliberately softened the appearance of the photographs, often losing detail, and possibly used a very soft paper. Often times the images are so grainy that only the captions provide any real information about who is in them.
All of this complicates the process of adequately scanning the material. One can never add information to a photographs once taken. Sometimes detail can be made visible if a photograph is too dark. A washed out photograph, perhaps made dim by too much exposure to light over time, cannot be salvaged. All of this is true of newspaper pieces. Sometimes documents are available but mounted, and crooked. These can be processed.
In the end, scanning is a tedious process, and with time one simply develops a feel for what will bring out detail, and make an image look good. And this can be different from what the original looks like.
At bottom, the process is to take each item, carefully scan it at the highest practical resolution, manipulate it as described above, and try to produce something credible. If the originals are in good condition, the result and the original are quite similar. The process is at least as much art as technology. Complicating matters further, no two PC monitors will produce exactly the same rendition of an image. And as many have no doubt noticed, a printed copy of a monitor image will often look very different. The colors will not be just the same. The quality almost certainly will not be. So the trying conclusion is that one does the best they can, and hopefully produces something that is useful and interesting, not necessarily rigorously identical to the original, but conveys all of the essential information.