Baldwinsville History Mystery: Dec. 5, 2018
Question: Shortly after Dec. 7, 1941, this sign and others started appearing around town. What can you tell us about this employer?
Last week’s answer: The questions in last week’s History Mystery have been around for some time. The historians behind the mysteries have found that if one waits long enough and keeps looking an answer may unexpectedly show up.
On a chance conversation with Leo Johnson and mentioning the B’ville Bee and its origin, the answer has finally come to light.
Leo was the school district wrestling coach in the 1970s. He related that, prior to the ‘70s, the newspapers had a problem writing out the long name “Baldwinsville Bees” — it just didn’t fit well with the space on the page. So Leo began looking for a logo. He saw one with a bee on the Syracuse Stingers Professional Lacrosse team at the War Memorial arena. When the team folded after the 1974 season, Leo and the Baldwinsville Wrestling Fan Club adopted that Bee and modified it by dropping the stick out of its hands. After that the Bee was put on all wrestling equipment — gear, stationery, posters, etc.
When Leo became the athletic director in the ‘80s he moved the “Fighting Bee” to all school teams and uniforms, as a sense of pride in the athletic department. It has now carried over to be the Baldwinsville Central School District’s image and the identity for the Baldwinsville community.
While this wasn’t the answer we were looking for, reader Kathleen Jenne proposed another possible origin for the B’ville Bee:
“The current logo as shown in your photo is a ‘rip-off’ of the current Georgia Tech mascot. If you Google their bee, it is essentially the same image. I have a friend who works at Georgia Tech and we joke about this regularly,” she wrote in an email.
The first reference to Georgia Tech athletes as “Yellow Jackets” was in a 1906 edition of the Atlanta Journal. In 1972, student Judi McNair appeared in the yearbook dressed as a yellow jacket, and “Buzz” was officially adopted as Georgia Tech’s mascot in 1980.
Email your guess to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at 315-434-8889 ext. 310 with your guess by noon Friday. If you are the first person to correctly identify an element in the photo before the deadline, your name and guess will appear in next week’s Messenger, along with another History Mystery feature. History Mystery is a joint project of the Museum at the Shacksboro Schoolhouse and the Baldwinsville Public Library.