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Elmer, Oklahoma History

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Continuation of history by Jeanean Butler of Elmer, Oklahoma

The Elmer school district was organized in 1908, and on the 1st of January 1909. Children gathered from all parts of the district to attend the Elmer School. In the years between 1900 1920, a considerable number of small schools were established in the area. Then, in about 1920, the citizens began to demand better school conditions. These conditions could not be obtained except by consolidations. An election was called and consolidation was voted. The following schools consolidated to form the school at Hess, Elmer, and Porter.

South Greer: (3 miles south, 3/4 miles east of Hess on the Kirby place, now the Yates Place) 1920

Yeldell (across the road from Southside School) 1/2 of the students went to Hess.

The following schools went in with Elmer:
Brick building built 1907 - 1915

Old Elmer ( in Elmer, now the Kelly place)

Yeldell (across the road from Southside School) 1/2 of the students went to Elmer. 1920

Pleasant Valley (Gyp Hill had consolidated with Pleasant Valley in 1908. 1920

Flower Mound (located about 3 miles north of Elmer) 1/2 of the students went to Elmer. 3 buses in 1922.

About 1940 Hess and Elmer consolidated to form the Southside School System. Southside was constructed with rock walls by the W.P.A. The late D.L. Boyer, a former County Superintendent of Jackson County, told of the Master Stone Mason that cut and laid the rock for the school, without the use of all our modern tools. He told of how men, not machines, mixed the cement, a backbreaking chore, and of the truck that was used for hauling rock, which was many times in need of repairs. The driver did the mechanic work, often in the middle of the road. Concerning the truck, Mr. Boyer said: "The truck was in bad condition when we bought it, but, it was still running when the job was finished." Mr. Boyer also told about a school in the Glendale District named Taylor University. It seems the school only lasted about 1 year, because the older boys decided they didn't want to go to school, so they burned it down!!!

The Southside School contained 10 classrooms, a library, study hall, lunchroom and a 100 foot gymnasium-auditorium. The school building was constructed in a U-shape around the combination gymnasium-auditorium.

In 1954 Porter went in with Southside and Humphries annexed to Southside in 1961.

Tragedy struck on Tuesday, February 25,1969. A blaze destroyed Southside's WPA building with an estimated loss of $500,000. Two days later, on Thursday morning, classes resumed at the Methodist and Baptist Churches in Elmer and in make-shift classrooms in the unburned buildings adjacent to the burned-out school. Administrative offices were moved to a room in the Superintendent's home. The lunchroom was set up in the Elmer Home Demonstration Clubhouse.

A bond election was voted and Southside was rebuilt in time for school in the fall of 1969. This school was a blue metal building on a long straight line facing west. A large gymnasium-auditorium was constructed to the north of the main classrooms.

In 1991 due to low student enrollment, financial hardships, and pressure from state officials, Southside School annexed into the Altus School District. A few students went to Olustee School, but most of the students are being bused into Altus. The Southside School buildings erected in 1969 were sold, disassembled and moved from the site.

A dwindling number of Alumni continue to hold reunions the Saturday night before Easter at various sites in Altus.

(A big portion of this information was taken from the Jacksonian County Year Book of 1922)


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This page was last updated on 9 July 2012 at 6:17 pm

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