Linz Dependents School History

Opened: 1946
Closed: 1955

According to the 1952-53 combined USFA yearbook,

The Linz Dependents’ School, composed of the only American high school in Austria and an elementary school, occupies a building better known to locals as the Diesterweg Schule.  The city itself, though its first impression is one of sameness and lack of color, unfolds to the inquisitive many historical and legendary treasures. The oldest city on the Danube, it derives its name from a word meaning “dragon.” It is said a dragon used to live in the valley where Linz now lies. The old beginnings of the city arc still present. Roman ruins can be found on the surrounding hills; St. Martin’s church dates back to the year 500 A. D.; the Linz castle of the Middle Ages stands yet. A famous general of Linz once said, “To wage war you need three things and they are money, money, and money.” Since war was necessary to the citizens of Linz as a means of self-preservation, they plied their trade and earned great sums of money. Salt from the Alps was brought to Linz to be sold in Northern Europe. The following legend was formed about the wealth of Linz: There was a fire in Linz, burning all the houses. The gold in the houses melted and ran through the city gate down to the Danube. From this legend, the Linz coat of arms was designed. This seal contains a gate with a golden path running through green fields from the gate to the river. From its earliest beginnings until the present date, Linz has been a prosperous city. The present-day Linz is a thriving shipping center. Its population of 200,000 places it second largest city in Austria after Vienna. Electric stop-lights arc replacing policemen and modern vehicles are seen all over Linz, but the famous landmarks, such as the Hauptplatz monument commemorating deliverance from the Plague and the Eisenhand Bahnhof, will never disappear.

The 1949-50 yearbook stated,

When the doors of the Linz Dependents’ School were opened in September of 1949, the senior class, one of the largest groups in the building, began a prosperous, fun filled year. — The people who became members of home room number ten had interesting backgrounds and came from all over the world.

Myra Gale spent some time in Shanghai, China while it was occupied by the Japanese. Maxene Stueber, from Brockton, Massachusetts, had spent a couple of years on Guam with the American occupation forces. Gunther Helm, who went to school in Linz the year before, lived in Stuttgart, Germany from 1939 until 1947. Then he and his family were stationed in Salzburg. Barbara Evers was in Manila, and Peggy McNaul came to us from Vienna, Austria. Len Nichols, who was starting his second year at Linz High, had spent two years in Nuernberg, Germany. John Robinson, well known for his quick wit, came from Chelsea, Massachusetts. Joe Boyer arrived from Camp Lee, Virginia and Mary Ann Blum also come from there. Nancy Pyle, in Europe for the first time, lived previously in Washington D. C. Charles Layton, our only postgraduate, calls his last home Washington State. Jane Pharr, who also started her second year at Linz, had lived in both, Linz and Salzburg. Jo Campbell came from Camp Pickett, Virginia and Don Poorman, who was a late arrival, hails from Fort Knox, Kentucky. Lois Wynne, who arrived in January is a native Texan from San Antonio, and Norma DeArcangelis spent her second year at Linz after going home to Long Island, New York for a short time.

These people became leaders in all stages of school life at Linz. Gunther Helm was elected student council president for the first semester and was succeeded by Joe Boyer, who was elected to serve during the second semester. Don Poorman became captain of the boys’ volleyball and basketball teams and was joined by Len Nichols, Charlie Layton, and Joe Boyer as leaders in these sports. Nancy Pyle was chosen captain of the girls’ volleyball and basketball teams which both won the USFA championships. Several seniors, Gunther Helm, Barbara Evers, Len Nichols, Lois Wynne, Jane Pharr, and Don Poorman, received membership in the National Honor Society.

The Juniors joined with the seniors and shared a wonderful banquet at the Kremsmuenster Restaurant before the Christmas Prom. On May 19, the whole Senior Class journeyed in a group to Oberammergau, Germany where they saw the world-famous Passion Play. The trip was fun and certainly an experience which none of us will ever forget. At the end of the school year Mr. Read entertained all of us at a lawn party at his beautiful home in Steyr, Austria. The Junior — Senior Prom was also a memorable occasion of the school year. It was held at the Danube Club and the wonderful dinner, which was given at the Kremsmuenster Restaurant, was enjoyed very much. This annual was staffed by the seniors who had the able assistance of the lower-class members. On the whole the class year of 1949 and 50 has been a profitable one and one that we shall never forget.

The yearbook stated that the school year 1949-50 would not be remembered as just classes and homework but as personalities. The basketball season was probably the most interesting faze of the Linz school life especially the trips made by the team to different cities in the zone and the wonderful parties held for the visitors when they came to Linz to play. One of the biggest parties was given when both Trieste and Munich came into town.

 The class play was the big activity of the spring. After it was over, the performance was declared a hit. Everyone was generous in their applause. The personalities, little jokes, good times, troubles shared, the secrets that passed among the dorm boys and girls, the comrades who have left us and the new friends coming — all these go into the memories that we carry away from Linz.

The Linz School dormitory, which was in Hotel Prielmayer Hof, began in September 1949 with a population of seventeen students. Because there were twice as many boys as girls, a majority leader was chosen to represent the boys and a minority leader to represent the girls.

At the beginning of the year everything was in a state of confusion. Beds were piled together in two large rooms. There was no homey atmosphere in the dorm and there were no adequate facilities. Gradually, through the year, many improvements were made to make life more pleasant. Partitions were built to divide each large hall into comfortable rooms for two persons. Running water was installed and eventually hot water lines were run into the girls’ rooms. Curtains, lamps, and mirrors, which were slow in coming.

When they finally arrived, they give each room a cozy homelike atmosphere. Each student brought items from his Salzburg home to make his room more attractive. In their own opinion the boys’ best contributions were pin-up girls. The spacious McNaul, Schrantz, and Henrich suite was the hang out for the other students as well as the dorm inhabitants. It consisted of a kitchen, living-room and dining-room combined and the master bedroom. The recreation room acquired a radio, an assortment of games, and the ever-popular ping-pong equipment.

In October a ping-pong tournament was held with every dorm member participating. Beginning with the Vienna volleyball game in October, the dormitory began a winter long career of billeting visiting volleyball and basketball teams. Nuremberg, Frankfurt, Heidelberg, and Trieste enjoyed the hospitality of the dormitory. The trip to Salzburg and back is a gay adventure for the dorm students. At 3 30 Friday, after school, the kids dash up to their rooms, grab their suitcases and coats, and tear back down the stairs.

A school bus is waiting at the door to take them to the Bahnhof. They get off the bus, go to the R. T. O. waiting room, where they sit patiently till train time. Finally, the Salzburg Commuter arrives with the school coach and two M.P.s’ assigned to be our knightly guards.

The students scramble to get on. At 4:20 with all aboard, the train pulls out of the station. At approximately 7:20 p. m. the train arrives in Salzburg. There is another wild scramble to get off. The students bid each other good-by and face a new weekend.

On Sunday night at 6:50 p. m. the train is ready to leave Salzburg and head for Linz. At the year’s end the population was nine boys and nine girls. (The information above was based on several articles published in the 1950 yearbook, Danubian.)

The first year of the Danube Chapter of the National Honor Society was in 1950. The school charter was received in February 1950. Four students were inducted in February with an additional five students inducted in May. The clubs at the school included the Librarians and the Fire Marshalls. The students presented the drama production, “Ever Since Eve”.

The sports teams were the Indians and they played teams from Munich, Heidelberg, Vienna, Frankfurt, Wiesbaden, Berlin, Nuremberg, and Trieste. In the 1950 yearbook, the students refer to traveling through the Russian Zone to play Vienna in sports. That year the girls’ basketball and volleyball teams won championships.

Mr. Lawrence Read, who was the principal in Vienna the previous year, became the principal of Linz for the 1949-50 school year. Dale Parke was the high school principal. The elementary administrator was Katherine Steward, who had been in Vienna in 1948 and who transferred to Salzburg in 1950.

Mr. W. J. Walters became the principal in April 1951.

According to the 1952-53 yearbook, there were six high school teachers for the 102 ninth through twelfth graders. There were nine seniors, twenty-four juniors, thirty-three sophomores and thirty-six freshmen. One of the activities of the senior class was to select the class ring.

The extracurricular activities included a Forensic Club which participated in the national debate question for the year, student council, and photography club. Journalistic groups included the yearbook and the newspaper which was published monthly.

The senior class presented “Senior Skits” and the junior class performed the play, “My Seven Sisters”. There were five members of the National Honor Society. Sports included football and basketball for boys and cheerleading and basketball for girls. Linz played the teams from Nuremberg, Bremerhaven, Wiesbaden and Kaiserslautern.

In the elementary school (K-8) the principal was Neva N. McCully. Fifth through eighth grade had one section at each grade level. The other grades had two sections at each level including two morning and afternoon kindergartens.

By the 1953-54 school year the combined enrollment for kindergarten through high school was almost five hundred students. Mr. W. J. Waters, Sr. became the principal April 1951. For the 1953-54 school year there were two postgraduates and nineteen seniors. There were thirty students in the junior and sophomore classes and forty-four freshmen. There is a picture of the school in the 1953-54 yearbook. By the 1953-54 school year, the school had a National Honor Society. The Quill and Scroll Club published the yearbook, Danubian, and the newspaper, Scratch Pad. Other clubs at the school were the Forensics Club, the Speech Club, and the Photo Club. There were two choruses. This school year there were only females in the dorm. The school’s football team played Nuremberg, Wiesbaden and Munich and the basketball team played base military teams. There were five cheerleaders.

The school closed in 1955 when the US Occupation Forces left Austria.

Information from yearbooks in the AOSHS archives

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