The Many Colors of Westford Academy
Westford’s high school colors were not always maroon and grey (and sometimes gold) with a floating Grey Ghost. Into the 1950s, the school’s colors were less solid, as well as the description of the sports teams (mascots). In fact, a football team was not formalized until the 1950s. In 1958, students voted to adopt the Grey Ghost as their mascot, inspired by the title of the then popular TV series The Gray Ghost. However, though not always stated in the yearbooks, individual classes would choose their own colors, which were often reflected on the yearbook covers. The tradition of highlighting class colors slowly fell away after 1968.
1936 — Gold and White
1937 — Red and White
1938 — Green and White
1939 — Maroon and White
1940 — Blue and Silver
1941 — Blue and White
1942 — Green and White
1950 — Blue and White
1951 — Maroon and Gold
1952 — Green and Gold
1953 — White and Maroon
1954 — Blue and White
1957 — Red and White
1958 — Blue and White
1959 — Green and White
1960 — Red Rose and Satin Blue
1962 — Maroon and White
1963 — White and Gold
1964 — Royal Blue and White
1965 — Maroon and White
1966 — Ivory and Gold
1967 — Maroon and Silver
1968 — Green and White
School or Team Colors:
1911 — Navy Blue and White
1914 — Black and White
1940s — Maroon and Gray
1950s — Black and White
1959 to Present — Maroon and Gray
Team Name – Mascot:
1956-1958 — The Black Knights or the Black and Whites (football team)
1959 to Present — The Grey Ghosts
[Exhibit still under construction]
The 1911 class pin belonged to Addie Louise (Day) Keizer (1893-1988). It is 14K gold, and made by Folger, NY City. Addie was the mother of Eleen Keizer, class of 1936. George and Barbara Parkhurst donated it in 1998.
Marjorie Mitchel (Seavey) Johnson (1898-1975) owned the 1914 pin. It was also made by Folger in NY. The reverse specifically has Marjorie’s etched initials. The pin was donated in 1983.
The visible colors were navy blue & white in 1911 and black & white in 1914.
Arnold Wilder’s Class Ring
The Wilder family moved to Westford in 1923 from New Hampshire, with Henry Arnold Wilder (1909-2009) graduating from Westford Academy in 1927. Arnold was a mechanical engineer and active Freemason. Before working at Raytheon, he worked at the local Abbot Worsted Company between 1935 and 1956 and the Wright and Fletcher General Store between 1928 and 1934. As a railroad enthusiast, he was involved with the National Railroad Enthusiasts and Locomotive Historical Society. He was later a member of the Westford Historical Commission and a Trustee of Westford Academy. Arnold was the town’s oldest man in 2009. School or class colors are not known for this time, while the ring itself is gold.
Black and white picture of the Westford Academy Trustees. Left to right, front row: Alan Bell, Gorden Seavey, H. Arnold Wilder. Back row: Austin Fletcher, Maurice Huckins, Allister MacDougall, John Kimball, Dick Hall, ?, Dana Fletcher, John Abbot.
Black & White
WA Football Pin
The WA football pin is from between 1946 and 1947. It shows the team colors being maroon and gray in those years. The team colors would become black and white by the late 1950s, before going back to today’s maroon and gray starting in 1959 with the introduction of the Grey Ghost mascot. There was no known WA mascot in the 1940s, with first known being the short-lived Black Knight in the late 1950s.
The pin is felt with a leather “football” on the front and safety pin on the reverse. It was made in the USA by The Felt Crafters of Plainstow, NH, whose slogan was “Always Something New.” Cynthia Cook Winterhalter of Ashland, MA, donated the pin in 2012.
Felt, leather, metal pin
The Black Knight and the Grey Ghost
Just prior to the Grey Ghost mascot, Westford Academy had the Black Knight. This early mascot existed very briefly between 1956 and 1958, with the school team colors being black and white in those years (WA teams also known as the “Black and Whites”). The 1959 yearbook specifically stated that WA teams would no longer use the symbol after the 1958 season.
The image was taken from the November 1958 issue of the Lowell Sun, and is currently the only known picture of the Black Knight (clipping courtesy J.V Fletcher Library). It features a young boy, Ralph Symmes, Jr. (1944-2013), dressed as the short-lived mascot at its last football game. According to the sports archives at the Chelmsford Historical Commission, his father, Ralph, Sr. (1908-1980), owned and trained horses in the 1950s, as well as being the then president of the Silver Spurs Horse Club.
The familiar Grey Ghost — and associated maroon and gray colors — were adopted and applied starting in 1959. This change was related to new, differently colored uniforms. Research at WHS suggested the ghost was inspired by the title of a popular TV series at the time, “The Gray Ghost.” The mascot was sometimes spelled “Gray Ghost” in the first years, and was first featured on the 1964 yearbook cover, merged with the clarion trumpeter featured on the covers prior. Not counting aesthetic changes, the Grey Ghost since became synonymous with WA.
Image courtesy J.V. Fletcher Library, Westford MA