WELLINGTON — That classy fellow with the stylish top hat and monocle might disapprove of people fighting over him.
But that’s what appears to be brewing because of a recent effort by Columbus artist and 1992 Wellington High School grad Scott Marion, who wants to see the school’s vintage logo brought back or a newer version take its place.
Marion, 39, created a GiveTheDukeAFacelift Facebook page on which he and five other artists presented more than a dozen artistic versions of the “Duke” for the community to check out.
Since going up two weeks ago, the page has attracted more than 10,000 views, according to Marion, with hundreds of people expressing approval for one or more of the assorted “Duke” designs found there.
“I’m not out for a fight,” Marion said. “There’s nothing wrong with the current logo. I’m proud to wear it. Whether we pick a new Duke or keep the old Duke, I’m cool with it,” Marion said.
The school currently uses a maroon “W” accompanied by the word “Dukes” for its main logo.
One person who definitely doesn’t agree with a move to freshen up the “Duke” is Al Leiby, a lifelong Wellington resident and the village’s unofficial historian, who has authored two “Memory Lane Wellington, Ohio” books of local history.
“The bottom line is, we have a fellow who went to Wellington (High School) and is an artist who now lives in Columbus and thinks Wellington should change things,” Leiby said.
Using his own Memory Lane, Wellington, Ohio Facebook page, Leiby has heard from lots of locals who side with him.
“The overwhelming majority of older folks like myself who are in their late 50s or older are against the idea of changing the ‘Duke,’ ” Leiby said. “Folks who have spent most of their lives in the area like it the way it is and don’t see a need to change.”
Marion’s inspiration for the artistic re-imaginings of the “Duke” came after he moved to the Columbus area last fall after working and living for 10 years in California and the South.
Marion said he came back to town and went to a few football games and noticed he saw no evidence in the crowd of the original Duke’s squared-off face with top hat and monocle.
“It used to be on the football helmets but was gone,” Marion said.
A former member of the school’s football, wrestling and track teams, Marion characterized the “Duke” as “a unique and really cool character.”
“It’s not a wildcat, a panther, a bulldog or pirates,” Marion added.
“Our feeling is that we can do something better,” Marion said of himself and the contributing artists. “Some of the others felt the existing logo was a bit dated.”
Marion said he didn’t expect some of the negative and “really angry” comments the page attracted.
“We had to delete some of them,” he said.
Marion’s mother, Marilyn, retired in 2006 as a 20-year teacher from the village’s Westwood Elementary School.
Jeff Jump, Wellington High School’s athletic director, said he is aware of the Facebook designs but said the issue hasn’t generated a lot of buzz among students or staff.
Neither Marion nor Jump had an explanation as to exactly how the original logo faded from view, although Jump said it is still found on the backs of cheerleaders’ uniforms.
“The logo was not on helmets when I came here, and that’s been 15 years,” Jump said.
“I don’t get why everyone is so afraid of change,” posted Moose Sword to Marion’s Facebook page. “Get over it people … things change. I say change it.”
Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or firstname.lastname@example.org.