Simple Renovation to These Classrooms in Oklahoma Reveals an Incredible Century-Old Secret

During the winter months of 1917, a classroom in Oklahoma City received new blackboards. It may have been a rather monotonous time in history, and as the years passed (with a couple of renovations here and there) the boards were forgotten, undisturbed, and undiscovered for nearly a century.

But a recent remodeling of the classrooms in Emerson High School has led to the boards’ rediscovery. Take a look…

When work began on the four classrooms of Emerson High, the contractors didn’t expect they would discover a slice of local history.

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Oklahmoma City Public Schools/Emerson High School

The classrooms are to be upgraded with new whiteboards and smartboards, so the workers had to remove the outdated chalkboards. But when they began to pull those away, they made an amazing discovery…

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Beneath the current boards are a set of chalkboards, hidden away, undisturbed for nearly a hundred years! The old chalkboards have century-old writings and drawings. This photo of the board below shows us a December calendar and a turkey that marks Thanksgiving.

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Twitter/Oklahoma City Public Schools

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Twitter/Oklahoma City Public Schools


The wheel of multiplication on the board gives us a rare glimpse into the teaching methods used in 1917. Principal Sherry Kishore told The Oklahoman, “I have never seen that technique in my life.”

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Twitter/Oklahoma City Public Schools

This board reads, “I give my head, my heart, and my life to my God and One nation indivisible with justice for all.”

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Twitter/Oklahoma City Public Schools

The writings and drawings on the board within each of the four rooms mirrored the “aligned curriculum in 1917”.

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Twitter/Oklahoma City Public Schools

The ‘lessons’ on the board might be unfamiliar to younger folks, but they certainly resonate with older generations. Principal Kishore told The Oklahoman what it was like to show her 85-year-old mother the boards: “She just stood there and cried. She said it was exactly like her classroom was when she was going to school.”

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Twitter/Oklahoma City Public Schools

Two dates were found on the boards: November 30, 1917, and December 4, 1917, which actually predate Principal Kishore’s mother by 13 years.

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Twitter/Oklahoma City Public Schools

It’s not (always) clear whether the writings and drawings were done by the students or by the teachers.

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Twitter/Oklahoma City Public Schools

This one reads “My Rules To Keep Clean”.

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Twitter/Oklahoma City Public Schools

Cinthea Comer, an English teacher, told The Oklahoman, “It was so eerie because the colors were so vibrant it looked like it was drawn the same day. To know that it was drawn 100 years ago… it’s like you’re going into a looking glass into the past.”

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Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman

Emerson High School has seen many renovations throughout the years, but during those improvements, contractors have only found broken pipes and wires.

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Twitter/Oklahoma City Public Schools

So when the discovered this remarkable slice of American history, the local community was truly delighted. Oklahoma City and the school district are now working to preserve these beautiful boards.

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Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman

Watch the video.