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Yale 62

Comments about The 1959 St. Patrick’s Day Riot

Please make your comments below. What do you recall? Do your recollections differ from our video trio? Let us know!

6 comments to Comments about The 1959 St. Patrick’s Day Riot

  • Bill Weber

    Tony and Jack—Thanks very much for refreshing my memory about the “riot” of 1959.

    I wonder how many of our class mates have memories of this event?

  • thomas triplett

    There was a snowball fight the night before. Many marched down to the hotel where we kept dates. Threw snow balls at hotel in protest of its rates. Expecting trouble the next day, local police were prepared with batons, hoses, etc. after whispering this is a riot, disperse, they charged forward swing batons. Several injuries. The irony was that most snowballs were thrown from campus rooftops, a secure vantage point. Boy was that fun!!!!

  • Joe Holmes

    Joe Holmes here. Thursday night studied in Sterling. Heard a ton of noise. Eventually came out to see. Heard report about a student stealing a cop car. and a radio report saying, would that student please return the car or inform them as to its whereabouts. Hilarious. watched a bit. Then curious about how good the snow was for snowballs, scooped up a bit, pat pat pat, and lobbed one, probably board the roof of a cop car. Well the storm troopers previously described were down by Calhoun and a few rushed towards me like military. First one slipped and plunged face first into the snow bank at my feet. Might be hurt. Since I was an MP in the military I felt a tinge of sympathy. I helped pick him up, use a handkerchief to wipe some surface blood from his face, and asked if he was OK. He grabbed my arm and marched me off to the paddy wagon. went to jail. Charge was loitering.

    Follow up: deans told us get a lawyer, get off this small charge. Went to Church and college. lawyer picked at random turned out to be a classmate of my father, and an usher in his wedding. OK. Never got a bill (whew).

    On Friday morning I took a lot of crap (in spanish class) from Charlie Brainard about getting jailed. Guess who wound up in jail in the Saturday portion of this event.

  • Harry Ward, 62E

    I was a transfer student, so I was living in Saybrook at the time. I don’t remember the snow (you would think a boy from MS would remember that), nor do I remember the adventures that led up to confrontation, but I do remember the parade, because I am in it! If was published in Life magazine. Go here:
    and scroll down maybe 20% of the page length, and you will see the picture. Unfortunately the clarity of this archived photo is not nearly as good as the original in the magazine.

    Then enlarge it, and to the left of the policeman on the motorcycle is a guy in a white sweater. That was the friend that was with me marching up Elm St. Just to the left of him is a blond guy wearing a dark jacket over a white sweatshirt. I think that is me.

    From that day until I went home for the summer, I was concerned that my parents would see this photo, and wonder why the son they sent to Yale was involved in this kind of crap, and not studying! But if they ever saw the picture, they never said anything about it.

  • Bill Weber

    Terrific Pictures. They certainly bring back vivid memories of the “event” and they make a nice complement to Jack and Tony’s recollections.

  • I recall witnessing the St. Patrick’s Day “snowball riot” from our room in Durfee overlooking Elm St. I had been kicked off campus for a couple of weeks prior to Christmas break for hurling a water balloon out the window during the Old Campus “uprising” that fall. So, I was careful to avoid even venturing out onto the fire escape/”balcony” during the March event. I recall as a witness aiding a student whose black-jacking from behind by a cop had been captured in a photo someone had shot from our or another Durfee fire escape overlooking the scene.