The Story of Coach Schwalm’s Memorial
This little-known memorial for Grand Junction's Coach Schwalm has a unique story you just have to know.
In all my visits to Stocker Stadium, I swear I had never noticed this structure before. It is located past the south end of the football field, on the far side of the running track toward the barn.
I couldn't seem to find a date of presentation or any indication of when this memorial was placed there. All I know is basically what it says on the plaque:
In memory of Elmer A. Schwalm
Grand Junction Junior College Athletic Coach and Instructor who died Mar 13, 1934
After I did a little searching I found the story of what tragically happened to Elmer and how that memorial came to be.
The memorial was originally a piece of a five ton, seven-foot tall fountain with a brass lion's head and a stoplight on top of it. From 1911 to 1923 it was located at 5th Street and Rood Avenue. It was eventually moved because of road paving, finding a new home at Washington Park.
That is until 1934. After Elmer died in a horrific car accident, Tom Gardner got a hold of the old fountain, removed the stoplight and lion's head and turned it into a public drinking fountain in Coach Schwalm's name.
The school decided to unveil the memorial fountain during a football game on November 13, 1934.
So, believe it or not, that structure has been there for more than 82 years. Dedicated to a coach who "never wanted to leave the field of play."