From the Archives: “‘Spirit of CPS’ Passes To Its Reward, Faithful Campus Steed Is No More”

CPSThe story behind this headline is just about as dismal as it sounds. Upon rummaging through the archives I came across this headline in an issue of The Puget Sound Trail dated September 28th of 1928, and it most certainly caught my eye as an unusually somber circumstance.

Little known fact is, the university used to have a horse. Almost a mascot of sorts, as the steed was a popular friend among both faculty and students. The owner, a man by the name of Leo Durkee, was a graduate of the Class of ’28 and went on to become a teacher. His horse, known by the illustrious title “The Spirit of CPS”, was “known to all, [and] whose cheery voice was often evident [throughout] campus”.

The story begins as the two “women at fault”, actual teachers of the school, discussed a plan to steal the horse to go on a personal, unauthorized carriage ride. Careless in their deceitful planning, Durkee overheard and decided to hide himself in the back of the carriage in order to assure his horse was safe and that justice was served. The women eagerly jumped into the carriage at the scheduled time, and began a ride described as one that would put Paul Revere to shame. However, the ride was short-lived, literally. The women were inexperienced and negligent; a mistake that proved to be lethal. Before Durkee could take control of the cabin, the carriage was intercepted and crashed with a “dull and sickening thud”, killing the poor horse who led it. Leaving one woman unconscious and the other screaming, Durkee was horrified by the gory scene that lie before him. The horse sustained morbid injuries that proved to be deadly, and “The Spirit” was gone in the blink of an eye, leaving poor Leo Durkee with a very heavy heart in the passing of his friend. The university also felt the absence, and in the words of sobbing ASCPS president, Amos Booth, “Puget Sound mourns the passing of a good friend and comrade. I can’t express in words what my heart feels”.

In memory of the majestic steed who was loved by all. The Spirit of CPS.

By Monica Patterson

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