North High School  -  Columbus, Ohio

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How Did North Become Polar Bears?

 

HOW DID NORTH BECOME POLAR BEARS?

That is a question that Principal Kenny Lee asked when he first met our historian Leeann Faust ‘58 at Community Day 2014. She had researched this for a Roars article in 1997 so could easily give him the answer. We are sure others have also wondered just how & when in happened.

She found that until 1929, although our colors are maroon & gold, there was no actual mascot. We seemed to be called simply “The Maroons.” Coach Arthur C. Jones mentioned to alumnus George Minister of the Athletic Supply Co., North High needed a mascot. George remembered a marvelous polar bear that had appeared in the Lazarus Christmas window and reigned over the toy department during several the years. It had eventually been put into storage. There couldn’t be a better mascot for a school named North than a Polar Bear.

The bear had been purchased from the famous Colbalt Toy Co. in Germany for $500. It was very lifelike, roared, had a head that moved back and forth and eyes that lit up. George contacted Mr. Gallager who was in charge of the Lazarus toy department, and he bought the bear for $125.That was certainly a lot of money in 1929.

After it arrived at the school they held a contest to name him. Lewis Wilson‘s submission of Terrible North Teddy or TNT was the winner. TNT appeared at all sporting contests and other events from November 22, 1929 throughout the 30’s.
We have no idea what happened to this iconic bear. Possibly some of his mechanics failed and a student dismantled him, was unable to make the repairs and didn’t reassemble him. We hate to think that he was stored under the stadium, became damp, moldy and rusty. It’s a mystery that we have been trying to solve for years.

TNT may be gone but we will always be the Polar Bears thanks to Terrible North Teddy.