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Some lazy custodian forgot to clean a chalkboard in 1917…

10:58 AM EDT on June 8, 2015


Last week, workers renovating Emerson High School in downtown Oklahoma City found some cool stuff when they uncovered old chalkboards. I'll let Tim Willert with explain...

The past came alive this week at Emerson High School in Oklahoma City, when workers discovered slate blackboards with almost perfectly preserved writings and drawings dating back nearly 100 years.

The chalkboards, dedicated Nov. 30 and Dec. 4, 1917, were discovered in three classrooms during MAPS for Kids renovations at the school, 715 N Walker. In addition to math, reading, music and handwriting lessons, rules for keeping clean appeared on the board along with a history lesson about the Pilgrims.

City and school district officials will decide how to preserve the blackboards.

Screw the chalkboards for a second. The big news item here is that we're still not done with Maps for Kids. Wasn't that thing passed in like 2001?

Anyway, I'm a history buff in that I like to fall asleep to History Channel every now and then, so I obviously think this is a pretty cool find. It's neat to get a glimpse of what life was like before touch screens and dry erase boards. And thank the old gods and the new that Janet Barresi is no longer the State School Superintendent. She probably would have ordered the chalkboards be erased, cleaned and ground into meat filling for school lunches.

The items found on the blackboards give us a glimpse about what elementary school was like nearly 100 years ago. Oddly enough, it doesn't look like things have changed all that much. Back then, they still taught kids historical myths about the Pilgrims and Indians gathering for Thanksgiving and dabbled in a little Common Core math...

emerson chalk board

The lessons, notes and plagiarized drawings on the blackboards survive today thanks to the school's lazy janitor. At least that's what we can assume thanks to these photos by The Oklahoman's Doug Hoke:

emerson rj scott 2
emerson rj scott

Okay, I guess there is a chance that RJ was a sentimental sonuvabitch and wanted to preserve this moment in time for future generations to stumble upon and enjoy, but doesn't that contradict the elementary school janitor stereotypes?  I'm sure they were just as weird and creepy in 1917 as they are today. Also, if someone told you to put up new slate blackboards in a school while the kids were out on Christmas break, would you go to the trouble of cleaning the old boards? No way. You'd probably write a note on the old board and install the new ones. I guess this is proof that laziness sometimes pays off.

Anyway, you can check out for all the pics. According to KFOR, the district is trying to locate the family of the janitor. They probably want him to finish the job right.

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