Local entertainment in Wake Forest was reliant on the college
Wake Forest University had a profound impact on the town. Lake explains how collegiate sports and especially trains entertained the students.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with I. Beverly Lake Sr., September 8, 1987. Interview C-0043. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Full Text of the Excerpt
- I. BEVERLY LAKE:
...For amusement, like everything else, our entertainment activities
centered around the college. We children would always go to the college
athletic field and watch the football and the baseball practices. Wake
Forest has always been noted, was always noted I should say, for
excellent baseball teams. We used to go up and watch the ball games. The
football was not at all good, though we had in our Wake Forest history
from about 1918 to 1920. I think the finest football player I ever saw.
His name was Harry Rabenhorst. He came from Louisiana. He was a
marvelous ball carrier and a most expert punter. So far as I know, he
still holds the world's record for the longest punt in an
Wake Forest was playing what was then called A and M, now called N.C.
State, at Riddick Field. The State team pushed the Wake Forest team back
to within six inches of the goal line but it couldn't cross.
So the ball went over, Rabenhorst stood deep in his own end zone and
punted the ball over the head of the State safety
man. It rolled all the way, the whole length of the field across the
State goal line. The State man tried to pick it up and fumbled it so
Wake Forest then fell on it for a touchdown. The only incident of that
sort I suppose that has ever occurred. I might say that I think that
it's the only touchdown that Wake Forest scored.
We had some excellent baseball players.
Now, the college had entertainments of various sorts. Traveling
theatrical troupes would come and present plays; usually. I would guess,
Shakespearean plays in the college chapel which was also an auditorium.
We all bought tickets for that. Other institutions, such as the Oxford
Orphanage. every year sent its Glee Club over to give a concert for the
benefit of the orphange, and we went to that.
- I. BEVERLY LAKE:
Otherwise, the chief entertainment, I suppose, was going to watch the
noon and afternoon trains go by. They stopped at Wake
Forest--during the noon recess of classes and then in the
afternoon after most classes were over. So all the college students
would go down to see who was on the train and flirt with all the girls
who were on the train, if possible, and generally make nuisances of
themselves, I suppose. Dr. Billy Poteat, the President, at chapel one
day was urging us to be a little more courteous and dignified to the
passengers on the train. He told us, I'm sure he made it up,
a good story. He said he understood that the other afternoon, when the
afternoon train stopped on a hot Spring day, the windows were all up,
and students were crowding around the passenger
coaches, outside of course, hollering and raising Cain generally. In a
lull in the commotion this elderly lady leaned out the window and turned
to her husband and said, "Ransom, we has done got to Dix Hill
and all the lunatics is loose!"
Well, it was a lot of fun to go down and see who was on the
train and where they were going and so on. Then we rode. We had
bicycles, and we rode on Sunday afternoons. We children took long walks
out into the surrounding country through the woods and had a general
good time, boys and girls together. I think that covers most of the
events. Of course, we boys as we grew older, say up to the age of 13 or
14, we formed our own little baseball teams. We played makeup teams in
Youngsville, Rolesville, Franklinton, and other communities around and
had a good time generally doing that.