More Colorful 100-Year-Old Chalkboard Art Found At Oklahoma City High School

Jan 10, 2016

Friday morning Oklahoma City Public Schools officials announced they'd found more historic chalkboards from 1917 while continuing renovations at Emerson High School just north of downtown.

The newly discovered blackboards date from December 1917. They include a map of Oklahoma's Indian Territory, with the tribal boundaries and capitals clearly defined, as well as a calendar with an intricate flower pattern, and a drawing showing several houses.

Emerson High School principal Sherry Kishore said seeing the old chalkboards is like walking into a time capsule.

"It was like the teacher had left the day before, and you’re coming in to see what the homework was yesterday,” Kishore said. “It had the kids’ names on the wall. So it’s like you just walked through a door in to another generation.”

Constuction workers renovating the building found the first set of drawings over the summer. They had been covered up by newer walls, but Kishore says she doesn’t think there are any more hiding.

Math teacher Sherry Read said it’s been fun trying to decipher some of the old drawings.

“It’s almost been like Egyptian hieroglyphics,” Reed said. “We found a bunch of names on the boards. And it’s like, 'Is this because they were good, or because they were bad…'” 

The initial discovery over the summer attracted nationwide attention, and in July district officials voted to temporarily cover the chalkboards to preserve them. Eventually they may be displayed behind plexiglass.

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