By Thomas Palmer

Last week, I looked at the history of Galion’s first Olympic athlete, Gayle Dull. If you missed “An Olympian’s Journey,” you can access it here.

Immediately after publication, I was contacted by local historian Craig Clinger, who provided additional information about Dull and his trip to the 1908 London Olympics. Craig shared some additional information as well as excerpts from a diary written by Galionite Arthur Freese. Freese was one of the sons of Egbert M. Freese, whose name is associated with Galion’s current Freese Foundation.

Arthur was a graduate of Galion High School in the Class of 1904, after which he enrolled at the University of Michigan. His roommate in Ann Arbor was Gayle Dull, who as I shared last week was a member of the U of M track team. He referred to Gayle as “Dully.”

According to the Freese diary, Dull received notice on June 8 that he was going to compete in London as one of 75 athletes from the United States. On his return trip home, Arthur had “… good lower berth in Pullman all the way on Big Four, Lake Shore, and New York Central” to meet Dull in New York City.

On August 31, the Olympic team was invited out to Oyster Bay, New York where they all shook hands with President Theodore Roosevelt. 

Returning to New York City by 5:00 PM, Dull and Freese went to the Knickerbocker Hotel and Theatre where they watched famed entertainer George M. Cohan and boxing champion John L. Sullivan.

Sullivan was the first heavyweight champion of gloved boxing, reigning from February 7, 1882. Sullivan’s boxing career transitioned from bare-knuckle fights to glove fighting. For his part, Cohan was a prominent American entertainer, playwright, composer, lyricist, actor, singer, dancer, and theatrical producer. Known as the “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” he left a lasting legacy in the world of entertainment.

Each Saturday, we post about local history. We call this series “Galion History Corner,” and we will be sharing not only stories about our shared heritage but also updates on history news here in southeast Crawford County.

This series is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Bernard M. Mansfield, whose “Your Historical Galion” was a fixture in weekend editions of the Galion Inquirer. Dr. Mansfield was a friend and family physician, and he inspired the current generation of Galion historians to continue his work.

Photo: Knickerbocker Theatre, New York City – Public Domain