The Old Days of Okmulgee High School
|Interested and influence of a few public spirited pioneers, who donated funds to build and equip a small frame structure, and pay E. E. Riley a small wage for a six-month term of school, launched the first white public school in Okmulgee, Indian Territory in 1901.
In 1902-03 C. P. Fowler and three assistants were the faculty, offering the first high school work, and in a sense becoming the founders of Okmulgee High School. Dunbar had a building and a teacher for the first term.
Old Central building, begun during the summer of 1904, was not completed until mid October because of a rainy season. C. T. Baker and nine teachers took charge in November 1904 and ran an eight-month term. This was a memorable session because for the first time Okmulgee had a suitable place in which to hold school.
Thomas Scott and thirteen teachers took charge in 1906. Mr. Scott stayed three and a half years and did much to build up the school system. He introduced a definite course of study, rules and regulations and the idea of keeping permanent school records. During this time an addition was made to Dunbar.
N. O. Hopkins became superintendent in January 1910. During his term the high school building was completed. The next big step in Okmulgee High School took place in 1922. The war was over and oil had been discovered here --- things were booming.
Enrollment in city school totaled nearly 5,000 with 1,104 attending Dunbar. At the high school a new cafeteria building had been completed, making Okmulgee the only school in the state to have a separate building as cafeteria. An art department had been added and the girls new gymnasium was opened.
By 1922 the academic building facing Okmulgee Street, and the vocational building, facing Alabama Street, as well as the boys gym and vocational annex were in use. In the late 1920's the academic and vocational buildings were joined by a four story structure. The cafeteria was moved to the fourth floor, the library was located on the third floor, a new art department was made on the second floor and the first floor space was for offices. The old cafeteria building became the band building.
In 1963 Brock Memorial gymnasium was dedicated and a new brick band building replaced the old one. The boys gym was converted into an enlarged and remodeled shop.
In 1969-70 Dunbar and OHS were integrated, with OHS housing grades 9 through 12 and Dunbar taking 7th and 8th grades. It would be false to say that there were no problems, but each year they diminished. Now all students at OHS feel, "This is my school and I am proud of it."
Today OHS has an enrollment of approximately 511 students.
OHS has a long history of striving for excellence, as evidenced by the numerous trophies, many tarnished with age, others shiny and new. OHS has been known for its achievements in all fields---academically, vocationally and in the sports arenas. May that quality never die.