Black Foxe Military Institute

Black Foxe Military Institute, Hollywood, California, c.1955

Black Foxe Military Institute was a private school for students in kindergarten through the twelfth grade, but it no longer exists. Today the property is crowded with condominiums. It was owned by one of the richest families in Los Angeles, the Tobermans. The school was located in a fairly well established ritzy area of LA just south of Melrose Avenue on Wilcox. The Los Angeles Country Club was adjacent to the school to the west and south. The school was bordered on the east by the Los Angeles Tennis Club. Wilcox Avenue divided the school in half.  The academic buildings, pool & parade ground were on the west side of the street and the dormitory, gymnasium, commissary, infirmary & tennis courts were on the east side of the street.

The building on the left (in the picture above) housed the indoor Olympic size swimming pool. The building on the right held the library and administrative offices on the lower level and classrooms, tailor shop and student store were on the upper level. Behind that building were other classrooms, the armory, the motor pool with a full time mechanic, and the parade ground. 

Across the street to the east was an impressive three story brick building with enormous white colonial pillars, Gaver Hall.  The gymnasium was located in the basement. On the first floor was the recreation hall, commissary, dinning hall, infirmary, and barber shop. The next two floors were living quarters for the boarding students and the staff.  Most of the staff were retired military personnel. South of Gaver Hall was the schools tennis courts and Headquarters Company.

Cadet Pvt. Wachter

I was in the band.  That's what the red and yellow braid represented on the left shoulder of our dress uniforms. Our uniforms were blue-gray with a black stripe down the pants. The band was known as Headquarters Company.  I guess that was because we would always lead the other companies in a parade. Black Foxe was well known for it's excellent band throughout Los Angeles.  I don't know how my parents were able to send me to Black Foxe, but I had a music scholarship, playing the cornet in the band. I was not a boarding student.  Captain Brouton (U S Army, retired) picked me up each morning in one of the school's busses (blue with gold lettering NOT school bus yellow).  I would spend about an hour in the band practice rooms before school started.  The next three hours were spent in Mrs. Church's class.

The adult that impressed me the most at Black Foxe was "Sarge".  He was a retired Marine Corps Sergeant. Sarge was the crossing guard at the cross walk in the middle of the block on Wilcox Avenue.  He was the perfect image of a Marine.  Always in his dress uniform; shoes and brass so shinny you could see yourself in them; his white hat and gloves, so white, you would think they were brand new every time you saw him.  He always had a smile on his face and never yelled at anyone.  He knew everyone by their first name and had a little bit of advice for me every time I saw him.

Every day the entire school would assemble on the parade ground before lunch, the band would play, and the cadets would march down Wilcox Avenue into the dinning hall.  I really thought I was important because the band would lead the parade and block traffic in the middle of the street 'til the last cadet entered the dining hall.  Then the band would march in. Everyone was still standing when we entered.  They didn't even say the invocation 'til we put down our instruments and were standing by our seats.  At the age of nine I thought the band was the most important part of the whole school.  After lunch it was back to Mrs. Church for another two hours.  If you accumulated any demerits during the week (because your shoes or brass were not shinny, or you failed to wear you hat outdoors, or you failed to take it off indoors, etc.) you had to spend several hours on the parade ground on Saturday, marching with a rifle to work off your demerits.  I was forever polishing my shoes and brass.  The cadet officers were always issuing demerits and I was afraid of them because it seemed to me they would make up rules just so they could boss you around.

I hated Black Foxe while I was there.  I managed to cause enough trouble that the Commandant recommended a transfer to public school the following semester. Really though, I have a lot of fond memories.  Gary Lewis (Jerry Lewis' son) was in my class (18 students) and we would go to Paramount studios for his birthday or whenever his dad produced a new movie.  We would go to cotillion (a formal dance) with the girls from Marlbouorgh School at the Ebell Club and I was always being invited to the Jonathan Club or someone's home in Bell Aire or Beverly Hills for birthday parties and the like.  I should have "stuck it out".  I'm sure my life would be a lot different today if I had.


Apparently this may be the only page on the internet dedicated to Black Foxe Military Institute.  In the last six years I have received numerous emails from former students of Black Foxe.  If you have any information that would add to what I have presented or would like to be included on an alumni page you can contact me at here.

Link to LAUSDnet home page.
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