Back in time with NAU

Student axe

Let Inside NAU take you back in time this summer with tidbits of university history.

They axed for it

In 1932, the student body adopted the copper axe as the symbol for Lumberjack sports. The copper axe, donated by one-time English department head Mary Hill, was fabricated by a copper company in Douglas, Ariz., in 1933.

The axe itself is the object of one of the most colorful scandals in NAU’s history.

Two students from the normal school in Tempe (now Arizona State University) stole the axe from the vault in the business office on the Flagstaff campus. Almost immediately, everyone was notified of the theft, classes were dismissed and roadblocks were set up on all of the roads leading out of Flagstaff by city police and the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office. Students and faculty even gave chase in their own cars!

The thieves, riding motorcycles, were apprehended as they tried to evade a roadblock near Williams. The police turned the perpetrators over to the college administration who then handed them over to the student council.

For their punishment, the thieves’ heads were shaved and faces painted. They then were marched from campus to downtown Flagstaff as part of a parade prepared specifically for the humiliating occasion.