100-Year-Old Schoolhouse Transports Kids To Days Before OK Statehood
PERRY, Oklahoma - School is out for the summer for most kids, but for a fun day trip, you might want to take them back to school--and back in time to a unique little school house in Perry, in Noble County, that is an Oklahoma treasure.
I went there for my latest Oklahoma's Own report.
Shortly after the opening of the Cherokee outlet, when parts of Indian Territory were settled and on the way to becoming our nation's 46th state, there was a growing need for schools.
Most were one-room, rural, school houses like this one.
"So many of them are gone and disappeared. Fortunately, someone had the foresight, to say, 'Hey, we need to save this building,'" said Brad Dolezal, of the Cherokee Strip Museum.
The Rose Hill school was originally located a few miles north of Perry, in what was called Blackbear Township. The schoolhouse was built in 1895, and is now part of the Cherokee Strip Museum complex in Perry.
"It's definitely a treat that you don't find too often," Dolezal said.
There just aren't many schools that pre-date statehood still left standing.
An exhibit shows some of the items used by students, and the old photographs are a nice glimpse into what school was like way back when. But visitors really get a feel by going inside the school, which has the original desks and furnishings, and looks exactly like it would have looked a century ago when first through eighth graders attended.
"After eighth grade, most likely, they're just going to go back and help on the farm," Dolezal said.
Now in its 25th year of being open for tours, 60,000 Oklahoma students have visited Rose Hill on field trips, to attend a day of school just like it would have been held in 1910.
"With the kids, I hope they leave with a sense of where they came from," Dolezal said. "It's kind of a special treat for them."
And it's a special treat for people who appreciate Oklahoma's history and are grateful for those who decided to save it.
"When you step foot in here, whether school is in session or not, you get a really good sense of what it was like," Dolezal said.
The Cherokee Strip Museum is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It costs $3, but discounts are given for seniors, kids and groups of more than 10.