It’s always been a Blue Devil on the T-shirts or the posters or football helmets or anything that says Davenport High School (now Central). It’s been an emblem as long as oldest of old timers can remember for the 119-year-old high school. A Blue Devil has even been on the cover of a cookbook. But look again, you devoted grads, the new logo is a big blue “C” interlocking with a big red “D.” 

Not a Blue Devil in sight.

Of course, Central will always be the home of the Blue Devils. The Blue Devil figure has had its days, in all sorts of looks and ways. In form, he has been mean-looking, a cute little fellow, a wicked rascal. That current emblem is cool and even Brian Ehlinger, Central's activities director, isn't sure who designed it.

Before this new logo, an outlined blue-horned devil represented everything. He was a symbol that showed Davenport Central meant business. He was too fierce looking for a friendly high school from Davenport.

Back in 1976, Bob Dickey, a teacher at Central and a graphic artist on the side, designed a new emblem for the school. Something sophisticated that didn’t have a devil’s fanged teeth. Nothing scary, so he designed a devil’s face in an outline that has been the school’s “voice” for 40 years.

Before that, beginning in 1954, the logo was a devilish blue imp, a smiley face holding a devil’s pitchfork. The kids named him “Impy,” but he was more of a sissy than a tough guy, so Dickey’s long-admired devil took over. And in the 1920s, the school’s "devil" was so angry-looking that it scared kids.

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During its long life, the school has not always been the home of the Blue Devils. Once, the athletic teams were called the Hill Toppers. But Barbara Hess, who retired after 46 years as a teacher, says, “I never knew us ever to be known as anything but the Blue Devils” 

Sure-thing, they’ll always be called Blue Devils, whatever the emblem. It comes back to why always a devil? Ehlinger, the school’s AD, dug out material that Duke University of Durham, North Carolina, took the name of Blue Devils in 1923, always in red and blue. But eons before that, during World War I, the Chasseurs Alpins were nicknamed “les Diables Bleus.” They were fierce fighting forces in trench warfare.

Meanwhile back at Central, the grads still sing “Hail to the red and blue.” Here's hoping that doesn’t change.

Contact Bill Wundram at 563-383-2249 or bwundram@qctimes.com.

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