Football meets history

By Joyce Ervin

The Milan High School Football Team recently found themselves on a bus touring Milan. Coach Jesse Hoskins said the team’s motto for 2018 is “ACT Like a Big Red” that stands for accountability, community and toughness. He said, “Today was learning about our community.”
The trip around the city included a visit to the cemetery to hear the story of the only man hanged at the prison in 1938 and view his gravesite. 
Then with their tour guide, Milan Area Historical Society President Anne Farmer, they visited the city offices, the Community Center, Ford Lake, the historic Old Fire Barn, Gump Lake and ended the tour at the Friend-Hack House Museum.
Board volunteers directed tours of the 1800s stick-built house, while Roger Olds gave a history of the old 1938 Milan fire truck that is housed in the newly built Fire Truck Museum.  Olds told the boys the engine was restored by prisoners held in the Milan Prison.
While inside with the fire truck, conversation turned to football.  It seems three of the volunteers were once quarterbacks at Milan High School.  Dyllan Jones, current quarterback, posed for a photo with Tom Gotts, Roger Olds and Von Thompson.  One of the three mentioned he played in 1959.
Senior Duane Bartnicki liked the fire engine that Tom Gotts once drove, and said “It’s pretty cool.”
Back at the house an old piano that sets in one of the parlors found freshman tackle, Tim Stapleton, and Johnny Dyer a fullback and linebacker, playing the piano.  Both boys play by ear and have lots of talent.  Dyer played some Beethoven and said, “I play whenever I see a piano.”
After the concert, the group continued their tour.  But, outside groups of players were visiting the famous three-seater outhouse.  Thinking it rather a fun place, Jeramiah Cook, Jared Smith, Richard Arecheja and Parker Reed stepped back in and had their photo taken in a most private way.
Before getting on the bus to leave, the players gathered in a group and gave a mighty victory yell.
Kathy Viets served as chaperone and said she also enjoyed the tour.  Farmer said she thought the players had a good time particularly at the Old Fire Barn that once held the city jail. She said, “They all wanted to be locked in the jail cell.”  
Joyce Ervin is a freelance writer reporting on Milan.  She can be contacted at:  jlervin42 [at] yahoo [dot] com.

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