All 2020 Tower News Fall

Withrow-the first 50 years of Withrow At War

by Bob Linnenberg ’63

2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, which began in Europe in September 1939. The United States became fully involved with the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941. Life was about to change for all Withrow students.

Because of Cincinnati’s prominence in the production of machine tools vital to the war effort and Withrow’s proximity to two major plants, air raid drills were implemented in January 1942. Tower News printed instructions on air raid protocols, but the first few practice drills generated humorous accounts of gym students being caught in the showers and having to dress while running to their assigned shelters.

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…Arching Bridge and Shaded Valley…



by Bob Linnenberg ‘63

Daily, occasionally, or in the annual graduation Bridge Walk, generations of Withrowites have crossed the graceful footbridge at the entrance to our beautiful grounds, but few know that it might never have been built. In 1915 the architects at Garber and Woodward had to make a decision on what to do about the ravine that ran along Madison Road in front of the proposed East High School.

When it became  apparent that it would be too expensive to fill in the entire ravine, it was decided to design and build a footbridge over it. Palladian in style, the concrete and brick open spandrel arch bridge proved to be the  proper practical and esthetic choice, and its construction was endorsed by the president of the Cincinnati Board of Education, Dr. John M. Withrow.

In the years following, it was sometimes necessary  to maintain and make repairs to the understructure and decking, always at the expense of the Board of Education. By 1979, however, lack of funding led to the bridge’s having deteriorated to such an extent that it was condemned as unsafe by the City of Cincinnati. A ten-foot high fence was erected at either  and to block its use.

The Friends of Withrow, spearheaded by community activist Monica Nolan, was created, and volunteers, alumni, friends and students raised over $150,000 to help fund the repairs. Reopened in November 1981, the bridge was dedicated in honor of Miss Nolan’s sister, Nora May Nolan, a popular English teacher at Withrow from 1953 to 1976 and the main force behind the beautification of the school grounds. Annie Glenn, wife of Ohio Senator John Glenn (the first man to orbit the earth), was guest of honor at the bridge re-opening ceremony. In 1983 Withrow High School was listed on the  National Register of Historic Places.

By 2010 the bridge was once again showing signs of deterioration. Substantial repairs to the concrete arch and columns were needed. Bricks were missing or dislodged on the walking deck.Withrow Alumni Inc., the successor to the Friends of Withrow, needed to raise $50,000 toward the cost of repairs, with the Board of Education covering the balance. At a cost of $130,000, repairs began in June 2011 and were completed in Spring 2012. The bridge had a new deck and water guides. Repairs to the understructure were made, but some major repairs had to be deferred due to, once again, lack of funding.

After 100 years the bridge remains an iconic symbol of Withrow. It is in  active use by students, alumni and friends, many of whom have contributed to its maintenance and care. The annual Bridge Walk is still an important and emotional experience for graduating seniors, which hopefully will continue for another 100 years.

President’s Message – Fall 2020



by Dave Blocksom ’68

… all our hearts are won
Bob Linnenberg’s timely article, briefly describing the history of our historic bridge, highlights the investments that the alumni have so generously made over the years for the upkeep of the bridge. Unfortunately, we have again reached the point where we need to make structural repairs to the bridge now in order to avoid more costly repairs later.

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Beyond the Classroom – Withrow Athletics

by Jonas L. Smith, CAA, Withrow Athletic Director

The Withrow Athletic Department’s culture and mindset have changed drastically over the past few years. We have revamped our coaching staff with highly qualified individuals in all our sports. Our coaches truly understand the meaning of a student-athlete. That means school sports are an extension of a classroom, and they teach responsibilities of time management, working with others, and paying attention to detail. Withrow’s coaching staff understands academics come first and athletics second.

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2021 Class of the Withrow Athletic Hall of Fame

Mark your calendars for the Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Friday evening, January 15, 2021 at half-time of the Withrow–Walnut Hills varsity boys’ basketball game. Game time is 7:00 P.M. We are proud to introduce the five athletes who comprise the tenth group to be inducted into the Withrow Athletic Hall of Fame. They are:

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