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The Campus Lantern

The Campus Lantern

Yes, we once had a riflery range; no we don’t have one anymore

Roman McNichols
The door to the rifle range off the courtyard.

In the courtyard, underneath the Development Office, the school holds a secret history. Down a set of concrete stairs and through a red door lies the old rifle range, now dingy and abandoned.

The rifle program began at CHA with the United States’ involvement in World War I to prepare young men for battle. It was used by an outside organization during World War II while the Upper School at CHA was shut down due to the war. After the war, it closed down, but returned many times throughout the 20th century.

The rifle program had its biggest revival in the seventies. The program lasted three more decades until it closed for good.

During this time, CHA’s rifle team was highly ranked among nearby schools. Schools in the Inter-Ac like EA had similar rifle ranges. CHA also competed against military schools like the Valley Forge Military Academy.

Competitions consisted of individuals shooting at a target; the closer one gets to shooting the target, the more points are awarded. While CHA had no teams of note, “We had individuals that were good,” says expert SCH historian Paul Hines H’03.

The program began to decline due to a number of factors. First, school shootings rose in the nineties, especially with Columbine bringing this topic to national attention in 1999.

In 1990, Congress passed the Gun-Free School Zones Act, banning guns in school zones. Students would receive a suspension for bringing a gun to school.

By the end of the decade, the rifle team was only competing against the Valley Forge Military Academy. The rifle program was shut down for good by 2000.

The rifle range, now almost unnoticeable as we walk by it every day, reminds us of the rich history of our school. It makes us wonder: “How different will things be when we’re gone?”

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Roman McNichols '26
Roman McNichols '26, Staff Writer, Editor
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