In 1875, the high school on Martin Street was built. In 1932 the High School was renovated and the gymnasium was added. This modern gym featured basketball frames and baskets as well electric lights.
Sports and physical activity have always been popular at Almonte High School. The Almonte Club Swingers (1894) were probably the schools first organized team. The swingers practiced rhythmic gymnastics, a favourite of McKenzie’s "a marvelous combination of grace and a powerful work-out for the muscles."
Almonte High School Club Swingers. The school's first organized athletic team.
The Naismith Museum and Hall of Fame, Almonte
A soccer match between Almonte and Carleton Place High School was recorded in the Ottawa Journal in 1901. Almonte defeated their rivals by a score of 1-0.
The first recorded athletic awards were presented at the annual concert in 1912. The Senior Championship for highest standing at the annual school track meet was awarded to R. Cameron, the Junior Championship went to Harold Fligg. The school track meet was held at the Almonte N. L.A.S Fair Grounds for over fifty years.
An annual sports day was established in 1900, in which both boys and girls competed. The boys would participate in regular track events, while the girls displayed their abilities in events such as nail driving, egg racing, the poising race and the slow bicycle race.
Tennis courts, an outdoor basketball court and a baseball diamond were setup on the field beside the high school in 1912.
The baseball team was also formed in 1912. Officers of the first club included: Mr. T.J. O’Connell, B. Cameron, E. Moorehead, J. Hollyer, R.A.Jamieson, F. Fraser, W.MacFarlane, and M. MacFarlane. The team was still going strong in 1919, when the "Almonte Gazette" reported a victory for the orange and black over a team from Bennie’s Corners. Team member of that time included George Bowland, H.Ryan, J. Taylor, Raymond Robertson, J. Kirland, Arthur Wylie, Oliver MacFarlane, J. Williams, J.Allyson and Don Campbell.
The 1915 Almonte High School Hockey Team.
Hockey was also popular at Almonte High School. The Orange and Black won the Ottawa Valley School Championship in 1909. In 1911, the team joined the Upper Ottawa High School league which included teams from Arnprior and Renfrew. By 1923, the team was strong and tied a strong Glebe Collegiate team 2-2 and defeated rival Carleton Place 2-1.
The 1930’s saw the demise of the Orange and Black hockey team. Eligibility rules caused some conflict between town and school leagues. In the late 1990’s hockey returned to Almonte High School.
Ladies hockey was introduced and played with enthusiasm in 1923, under the management of Miss J. Stewart. It is not known what became of the team.
Almonte High School's first football team.
Football has long been a tradition at ADHS. Every fall since 1918 the Orange and Black have had a team. That first team played a game much different than the game we play today. Football at ADHS evolved out of rugby. The game was introduced to the school by Raymond Jamieson who was both the coach and a player of the team in 1918. The team played several exciting exhibition games that first season recording a few victories and getting the legendary team off to a great start. The game was so popular in 1919 the school had two teams.
According to the "Headlight" of 1923, the team revived that year and continued with some success over the town team and Perth Collegiate. In 1925, the team entered the Lanark County Rugby League. Teams in this league included Smiths Falls, Perth, and rival Carleton Place.
Lanark County Interscholastic Athletic Association Football Finalists
Football anecdotes from the 1931 season as told by Harry Walker:
"We entered high school in 1927, and started to play for the school team in 1928. Football has changed so much that you’d hardly realize it’s the same game. I remember the uniforms we had, at least they were called uniforms. They were raggedy to begin with, and there weren’t any more than four or five suits for the whole team. In one game that year we were playing against Smiths Falls, who had all red and white sweaters. Freddy McNaughton, from Almonte, happened to be wearing a red and white sweater too, so he would sneak into the Smiths Falls huddle and learn their plays. The referee finally caught him in the third quarter."
"Tic Thompson had the only real pair of football boots in town. They cost $3.95 and came from Montreal. The rest of the boys used to take the screw nails out of their skates, take the blades off and screw the nails back into the skates to make cleats."
"In 1931 the team acquired a full set of sweaters, stockings and helmets. Most players wore hockey pants since no one had rugby pants. No one owned shoulder pads"
"Football fever hit the town like a ton of bricks. To get to the game in Smiths Falls, Johnny Morrow packed a gang of kids into his old Jewett car. By the time they reached the highway corner the fenders were rubbing the tires, so he made three or four of them get out. He still made it over with fourteen people in that old crock!"
Season records for the school football team have been kept since 1937.
In 1951, Don Maynard took over coaching duties. Under his reign from 1951 to 1963, teams prospered and the Orange and Black won numerous county championships. By this time rugby football had evolved into the game we know today.
One game in 1951 was played in weather conditions so poor, sawdust had to be spread on the field to soak up the water. During that game Jack Farnham ran 100 yards off the field into a pasture before he was stopped. His glasses had been caked with sawdust and he was running blind!
The N.L.A.S. grounds boasted the softest field in town and was the home of high school football action in the 1950s. The grandstand was always full of boisterous supporters. In the 1960’s the team moved its home field to Gemmil Park and in the 1990’s the grounds of the Naismith Memorial Public School became the home field.
The Orange and Black have put out strong teams each year and during the 1980’s and 1990’s the Thunderbolts were and still are undoubtedly the team to beat.
Almonte High School's Senior Basketball Team 1939.
Basketball arrived at Almonte High School with the new gymnasium in 1932. Harry Walker remembered those early days of basketball at the high school with the following remarks:
"Football on a hardwood floor, that’s all it was, rough and kind of a civil war. You didn’t go around anybody, just through them. Nobody knew anything about the game. The Smolkin boys were the only ones who had seen a game, and they never played it. The first season was a mess, but the game was good exercise, an excellent conditioner for hockey and football."
By 1936, the school had won its first Lanark County Basketball Championship. The Almonte squad defeated Smiths Falls 13-12. Over the next six years Almonte’s Junior and Senior teams won four county championships each.
Almonte experienced some growing pains in the 1940’s with sporadic wins. In 1946, both the Senior and Junior teams again won the county
In 1948, a combined junior/senior team entered a tournament at Queen’s University. The Orange and Black would defeat teams from Kemptville, Gananoque and Trenton before losing in the semi-final to Albert College who went on the win their division.
Don Maynard, fresh from success on the football field took over the team in 1952 and under his guidance the teams prospered. In 1955 and 1956 the Senior team won the county and the Eastern Ontario Secondary School Association (E.O.S.S.A) championships in undefeated seasons.
In 1987, for the first time in Orangemen history the team won the triple crown of Basketball: Lanark County, EOSSA and OFSSA. Almonte and District High School to this day continues to produce excellent teams.
Almonte High School's Senior Basketball Team