Hill Patch Work


Through the decade of the 1960’s a staple part of the Hill uniform was the Hill Hawk arm patch.  This was a one size fits all accessory that could be worn by counselors or Hillmen on their dominant bicep for maximum effect.  They were color coordinated to work with both the camper shirts and the counselor Hill uniforms for the big game.  We thank Sandy Lipstein for providing the full inventory of patches for the decade, in remarkable good condition I might add.

What is interesting to note is how the art on these arm patches evolved over the decade, most significantly, how the Hawk was represented each year.

1961 Hill Patch

In 1961 it was quite monochromatic looking on a white background with the dark burgundy Hawk streaking like a jet with air stream coming of the wings and ‘The Hill’ written across the top.  The elastic strap is not even sewn into the felt patch.


By 1962 there was a colorful departure making the patch on a bright red background with the Hawk wearing a crown and an ‘H’ on it’s chest, talons bared.  This Hawk is very similar to the hand drawn one Hank Aberman created from the St. Joe materials he got from Jack Ramsey around this time.  On this version the text referred to ‘Saginaw Hill’.

Hill Patch 1963

1963 they stuck with Hank’s original theme as depicted on the Hill Arch and in the Hill Handbook, but introduced gold as the predominant color which would become a Hill tradition.


By 1964 the design crew started to get daring using the yellow background in combination with a burgundy Hawk and bright red lettering.  The Hawk took on a caricature look that would be repeated many times through the years but it was far from cute with an ominous look in it’s eyes, wings spread in full flight, and talons ready to grab it’s prey.  For the first time it was the Saginaw Sr. Hill as the identity of Super Seniors was starting to emerge.

1965 Hill Patch

Using a similar bright yellow palette with stark red lettering the image of the Hawk remained in the animated theme but it had a frat boy strut to it’s posture this time.  Big letterman’s sweater with an ‘H’ on it’s chest and a cocky leer on it’s face with hands defiantly on hips.  The text was now the full Camp Saginaw Senior Hill to make sure there would be no misunderstanding where they came from.

1966 Hill Patch

Staying with the same color scheme the 1966 patch was a throwback to ’64 with the same lettering and the original caricature representation of the Hill Hawk.  Though this time the Hawk wore the crown leaving little doubt he was the king of the roost.

1967 Hill Patch

1967 was a full departure with a new color scheme of gold and burgundy somewhat like the 1964 version.  But the Hawk was not a caricature but a truer multi-color representation of the predator from the wild perched on top of what must be the Hill Arch and wearing the gold crown as well.  For the first time the year takes precedence as it dominates the top of the patch.  The counselor uniform this year was the same dark burgundy as the lettering and outline of the patch and had gold accent shoulder striping setting off the sleeve.

1967 Uniform with a similar Hawk and the same color pallette
1967 Uniform with a similar Hawk and the same color palette

1968 Hill Patch

Sticking with the same color grouping the patch in 1968 got away from the classic octagonal shape of the last five years and experimented with a modern scalloped shape with scalloped double outlines.  They brought back the original caricature Hawk of 1964, without the crown, and the full spelling of Camp Saginaw Senior Hill we had become accustomed to.

1969 Hill Patch

Not to sit on its laurels this dark burgundy on white background is almost a throwback to 1961 but the caricature Hawk and the full text from last year remains.  In an act of bravado the 8-6 score of the now famous comeback of 1968 is represented on the patch as well.  This game spawned the lyrics from the Hill song:

“Twice there was a ball game, things looked mightly low,

Then Old Herbie Cohen, got things on the go….”

1970 Hill Patch

The decade ended with maybe the biggest departure in the patch design to date.  The dark burgundy color scheme remained but the text changed to the direct reference to Hill Hawks from Senior Hill and the hawk completely changed back to a real predator look in just an ominous head shot.  The 14 and 0, I believe, represents the Hill’s winning streak in the Hill-IJ game from 1956 through 1969, a clear statement of confident superiority over their opposition.

For a decade these patches were an integral part of the Hill counselor and camper uniforms and they were a vehicle for the evolution of the Hawk as the core of the Hillman persona.  As you can read in the Hill Hawk Posting this evolution continues to this day.


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