PUTNAM CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT, OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA — Now winter break, no snow days here.
The class rooms are always filled with quiet students.
The school colors are forever flung high.
That’s just the way people like Mike Brake and Kent Mathers like it at the Putnam City Schools Museum.
Brake says, “We’re the only district wide school museum, that I know of, in the state of Oklahoma.”
Mike is a Class of ’65 graduate who worked in newspapers and who, recently, compiled a history of this unique district for its 100th anniversary.
“Our collection is just bursting at the seams,” continues Brake. “We’ve got millions of things in here.”
The first graduating class of three was 100 years ago.
By then developer I.M. Putnam was long gone, having lost out on a bid to make this land east of Bethany the new state capitol.
Mathers says, “That was the idea that he and a Mr. Shartel had.”
The first school was actually consolidated from 4 different one room schools.
“This was the very first one in Oklahoma that did that,” says Brake.
Brake says early Putnam City schools boasted Oklahoma’s first and only woman football coach.
“In 1924 Catherine Simpson was superintendent here,” says Brake. “She was probably the only woman superintendent in Oklahoma at the time. She also organized the district’s first football team.”
That kid at the chalkboard is Kenneth Cooper (later Dr. Cooper) who became known as the father of modern aerobics.
Brake’s grandfather was president of the school board.
Kent Mathers came up when the district was adding at least one school every year.
He graduated in 1966, got his first teaching job in Putnam City, and was principal of Putnam City North High School for years.
“Times have changed haven’t they,” remarks Mathers.
“Yes they have,” agrees Brake.
Reunion season is when traffic is heaviest.
Former students file in to see their annuals, and old newspaper clippings.
Inside what used to be the snack bar and hangout spot now resides the history of the fist consolidated school in Oklahoma and a hundred classes of unfailing memories.
Mathers states, “We have a rich, unique history here in Putnam City.”
The Putnam City Schools Museum is located at 40th and Grove in Oklahoma City and open from 10AM to 2PM Saturdays.
For more information go to www.putnamcityschoolsmuseum.com