School today is chock full of technology — computers, calculators, smart boards. But can you imagine just how different school was for young students a century ago? Contractors at Emerson High School in Oklahoma City got a glimpse of just that when they removed old chalkboards only to find another set underneath, complete with chalk drawings untouched since 1917.
“We were removing the boards so we could put in some new white boards and smart boards,” David Todd, MAPS program manager, told The Oklahoman. But they didn’t expect to find such perfectly preserved pieces of history underneath. The chalkboards were dated November 30th and December 4th, 1917.
“The penmanship blows me away, totally because you don’t see a lot of that anymore,” Emerson High School Principal Sherry Kishore told The Oklahoman. “. . . Some of the handwriting in some of these rooms is beautiful.”
Some of the chalkboards included beautiful color drawings, such as of a turkey and a young girl.
Seriously gorgeous, right? But the drawings themselves weren’t the only thing that shocked faculty. There was a multiplication wheel that totally stupified Principal Kishore. “I have never seen that technique in my life,” she said.
It’s haunting yet breathtaking to see these beautiful drawings that seem to be a glimpse into our past. And it’s even more eerie that students’ names are written on the boards as well. “Their names are here,” said the principal. “I don’t know whether they were students that were the ones in charge that day… or if they were the ones who had to do a little extra because they were acting up.”
The drawings seemed to teach math, reading, music, and even how to keep clean, to name a few. Check out the rest of these drawings and be prepared to feel the little hairs on your neck stand up:
And look at these drawings of pilgrims around Thanksgiving time:
There’s even the pledge, written for the kids to say in the morning:
And here are lessons to teach the kids hygiene:
Don’t worry, these precious works of chalk art won’t be erased: the city and school district will be deciding how to best preserve the blackboards, according to The Oklahoman. Seeing something like this is a rare opportunity to view history, unfiltered and untouched. SO cool.