Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Monrovia's Big M

The Big M, that beacon on a hillside north of the Monrovia High School football field, was conceived and constructed by the student body under the direction of James Walters, student body president. The landowner, Mrs. James G. Davis consented to the construction of the Big M on her property. The work was supervised by the Monrovia Fire Department, Principal Max Forney and Vice-Principal Frank Williamson. Lumber was donated by local lumber companies, 25 tons of crushed rock were hauled to the site and 27 lights added the final touch. When the Wildcats win, the M lights up as a V.

October 19, 1951 marked the dedication of the Big M during the winning football game (26-12) with Mark Keppel High School (Alhambra).

Sources: Monrovia High School 1893-1976 by Thelma M.J. Thompson, pp. 41-42; Monrovia Centennial Review by Peter C. Ostrye, pp.253-254

Note: Ostrye and Thompson are not clear on dates. Ostrye says work started in 1952. Thompson implies, but does not state, 1951. According to the Monrovia Daily News Post, on Oct. 2, 1951, there is a front page article describing that the Big M is taking shape. On October 19, another front page article refers to the lighting of the Big M before the football game, and the October 22, 1951 front page has a photo of the lit up icon.