Jacksonville ISD community shares history behind their totem pole football tradition


JACKSONVILLE, Texas (KETK)- Jacksonville ISD community members explained the history behind their totem pole on the hill, which has been a part of the district’s football culture for approximately 60 years.

In 2019, the historic totem pole was replaced with a more modern version. Currently, the pole has pictures of all the different teams that JISD plays against, and it also has two vertical rows of flashing lights.

The totem pole has become a big symbol for the Jacksonville Fightin’ Indians, and the idea for its creation came from the Frank Brown Family.

Patti Kobitz Brown, 91, drew the designs for the original totem pole, but she said it was her husband, Frank H. Brown’s idea.

“The totem pole was to have the emblems of each team that JHS played, and include a way to display when the Indians won a game. The pole was to be placed in front of the Tomato Bowl to help promote team spirit.” Brown said.

Brown also added that the original totem pole was made from welded steel pipe.

Texas Senator Robert Nichols who attended Jacksonville High School said he thanked the Browns for creating the totem pole when he gave a speech, but he thought something was missing.

The original pole only had ten lights for the preseason and district games.

 “I asked, ‘where are the other four lights?’  Because we plan to go to state. We did play three more games after district and got to semi-finals, but never made it to state,” said Nichols. 

Now, Jacksonville ISD has a new totem pole with four additional lights and although their old pole was too worn out by the weather to salvage. It can still be seen in pictures in the Tomato Bowl Hall of Fame.

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