MUSKOGEE -- Three Rivers Museum in Muskogee has acquired a new piece for its collection – Oak Grove Separate School District No. 66, which was once a one-room school building for African-American students.
Last weekend, volunteers moved the 12-by-24 building about 12 miles from Okay, Okla. to Muskogee.
The building was donated to the museum by the owner of the land that the schoolhouse originally sat on. Executive director Sue Talbert said preparations for the move took several months.
“Since last October, we have been getting the property ready,” she said. “We had a group of volunteers that went out every weekend and worked to reinforce the floors and walls. It was a rural school, so it was quite a task getting it ready to move.”
Talbert says the building is at least 100 years old. The land was first deeded for a school in 1908. While the museum is working to get further details on the schoolhouse, Talbert said she knows the school was operating by 1917 and in 1920 it became a part of the Okay school district.
In 1950, the school was closed down and became a home for a family. The building has remained vacant since 1957.
“It’s exciting. It gives us the opportunity for students and teachers to experience a classroom in the 1920s. It’s a primary source for them. They see it firsthand.”
Three Rivers hopes to have the building ready for the pubic by the 2014-15 school year.
“We also plan to recreate the area around the building. We will have an outhouse and a well, just like the old property.”
Talbert said restoring the building will take some time and resources.
“Our progress depends on the amount of volunteers and donations we receive.”
The museum is currently selling bricks for the pathway leading up to the schoolhouse in order to raise funds for the restorations.
For more information, contact 918-686-6624 or visit 3riversmuseum.com.
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