SHIDLER AREA SCHOOLS THROUGH THE YEARS
Compiled and edited by Peggy Whitt
Printed in The Shidler Review in 1976
Shidler has two landmarks which are typical of most Oklahoma towns started in the 1920’s: a wide, red brick main street and a red brick high school, square in design.
The original handiwork of these landmarks remains, but both have changed in appearance, Most of the street brick has been covered with asphalt and the school building has been remodeled.
At one time the high school building sat alone on the west entrance of town, but it is now flanked by a red brick gym built in 1937, a modern, one-story elementary building built in 1956, and a gym and music complex with seating capacity for 702 constructed in 1970-71. Athletic fields are on the west edge of the school land.
The elementary building was named Ward Elementary School for Mr. W.G.Ward, high school principal and counselor from 1928 to 1965.
The gym and music complex were named for Mr. Herbert Bias, the only elementary principal the Shidler School has ever had. Mr. Bias came to Shidler in 1956 and still serves as principle.
After serving the Shidler Schools for 36 years, Mr. Ward retired from Shidler. He and Mrs. Ward, who was an elementary teacher first in Webb City and later in Shidler for 17 ½ years, still attend many school events and have maintained their support and interest in the schools.
From 1926 to the present, Shidler has had nine superintendents, eight high school principals and one elementary principal.
Shidler’s school facilities are similar to most in the state, but the history of its student enrollment is unique—the school grew out of transfers and annexes of 15 schools over a period of approximately 50 years.
Various schools were established in this northwest Osage Count area after oil was discovered three miles west of Shidler in 1929. A new town, “Whiz Bang”, later called DeNoya, and in the surrounding communities of Webb City, Shidler and Apperson.
INDEPENDENT DISTRICT 11
In 1921, under a special act of the Oklahoma Legislature, Shidler, a first-class city was chartered as Independent District #11, including 25square miles, known as the Shidler-Webb City Schools.
A 12-mile distance could be marked from Shidler to four other towns which had 12 grade school systems. To the north were Foraker and Grainola; to the south, Burbank; and to the west, Kaw City.
In 1921 a building in the north part of Shidler housed eight grades: and a building in the southeast part of town served four grades.
The present Shidler High School Building was started in 1923 and in 1926 the south part of the building was finished. Completion of the building marked the closing of the school in the north part of town.
At the same time the building was being constructed in Shidler, an identical building was going up in Webb City, only its front faced the east.
By 1926, the schools and districts were well organized.
In 1928, the schools and districts were well organized.
In 1928, Mr. E.B. Brown, school superintendent resigned and was succeeded by Mr. M.B. Nelson. The superintendent’s office was in the Webb City School building. In 1940 it was moved to Shidler.
In 1928, the same year Mr. Ward came to Shidler, the school became a member of the North Central Association. The system had 20 teachers. The following year five elementary schools, called “wing schools,” were brought into the Shidler-Webb City buildings.
These schools were Gypsy Corner, a one room school; Phillips, an oil field camp two room school west of Shidler; Vinnedge, an oil field camp one room school west of Webb City, and Lyman, a four-room brick building northwest of Webb City. Lyman had a principal and four teachers.
An elementary school supervisor was in charge of these “wing schools”. The Shidler-Webb City system had 50 teachers with salaries of $100, $110, and $125 per month.
In 1930 the elementary school supervisor was eliminated.
WALK TO SCHOOL
Transportation was not available for school children at that time, so it was common to see 25 to 40 youngsters walking down the dirt roads to school. District owned buses started providing transportation in1937.
The period of 1969-70 was one of the greatest periods of progress. Federal monies supplied books, science equipment and counseling services. During these years a new auto mechanics building was constructed, the athletic field was much improved, and the new gym and music complex erected.
During the middle 1960’s, members of the board of education and Mr. Harold Pool, superintendent, had the foresight to evaluate the basic structure of the high school building as being sound. With this premise, a large refurbishing project was undertaken to improve the existing building, keeping that which was sound and usable and renovating the outdated portions.
New metal windows and doors, surrounded by glass brick, replaced the old wooden windows and doors which had small panes. Fluorescent lights lowered acoustical tile ceilings and white tile floors further lightened the building.
The folding French doors, which framed the front hall, were removed to make way for trophy cases.
The floor of the old gym, located in the center of the high school building, was raised to make the floor even with the rest of the building.
A new, well-lighted, brown carpeted library was constructed in the east part of the old gym and the west area of the old gym was made into a large lecture classroom.
Following renovation of the high school building, the PWA gym was redecorated, and the floor replaced.
A new baseball field was built west of the school and the football field was improved and re-fenced.
In the fall of 1973 when Mr. Ray Stuckey, the present superintendent, came to Shidler, the two-room kindergarten building behind the old brick gym was remodeled.
This small building now houses the superintendent’s office, a School Board Meeting room and also a central storeroom for school supplies.
GYM AND MUSIC COMPLEX
The modern buff brick gym and music complex, whose only adornment is the brown steel trim on its corners, stands in stark contrast with the older buildings on the campus. The comparison is a visual reminder of the many students who have received their educations here.
Another reminder is many returning students, some retired, for Homecoming each year.
The 1976 students still hang blue and gold streamers in the gym before ball games. The tiger is still their symbol. They also hang banners in strategic places to warn opposing teams, who dare to enter, that they are entering “Tiger Country”. This spirit of camaraderie accompanies the teams wherever they go.
Shidler graduates have scattered far and near but when a Shidler team earns its way into state competition former students rally, in Oklahoma City or wherever competition is held, to sit once again behind the blue and gold colors. They quickly recall the past as they join in singing “Shidler Tigers, Shidler Tigers, Rah Rah Rah”.