Auburn alumnus Veazey Jackson ’58 was watching the Auburn spring game last Saturday, daydreaming about his college days and thinking about the countless celebrations he had personally witnessed at Toomer’s Corner.
Of course, there was no toilet paper streaming from the limbs of those oak trees in the 50s when Jackson was a student. He said the celebrations that took place then were a little bit different.
Jackson said there was a four-post wooden structure with a roof that used to sit next to the main gate at Toomer’s Corner. He compared the structure to a “hut” that provided shade, and protection from rain, for students who would stand at the corner and “wait for a ride” back to class or to their dorm rooms.
So, when API students wanted to celebrate a tiger victory, they would move this structure to the center of the intersection on College and Magnolia and, similarly to the way students climb on top of the main gate today, they would climb on top of this structure to lead everybody in the fight song.
“There would be four students that would get ahold of that thing and they would set it right under the traffic light,” he says. “The police would stop traffic down there on each end, and we would get out there in the middle of the street.”
Jackson was at Auburn when the Tigers won their first football national championship in 1957. “We were up there after they had announced that Auburn had won the championship, and we all gathered up and three or four boys would get on top of that thing and lead everybody in ‘War Eagle,’” he says. Jackson said the crowd celebrated for over an hour. A glomerata photographer forever immortalized Jackson in this moment of celebratory bliss in the photo above.
It was a big day for Alabama Polytechnic Institute athletics, and the celebration went on into the night. Jackson said the students marched through the city from house to house letting the ‘War Eagle’s’ fly. In the midst of this celebration they were met with the sickening realization that they had to soon wake up for classes. They didn’t want the celebration to end. “We decided that we wanted to see if we could get a day off from school, so we hightailed it to President Draughon’s house, and I don’t know whether or not we got everybody to the door or not,” he says. “But soon after that everybody dispersed and went to bed.”
Jackson didn’t get a break from classes the following day, but he did get memory of a special celebration that he will never forget.
Jackson graduated from the school of agriculture in 1958, and he currently resides in Decatur, Ala.