Last week, I had the chance to tour Old North, the first building constructed in the state of Oklahoma for the purpose of higher education, specifically for the Territorial Normal School, which is now the University of Central Oklahoma. The building was completed in 1893 (You can see pictures from Old North’s history at http://library.uco.edu/archives/ucohistory/university-buildings_details.cfm?ID=26).
What’s amazing to me personally (being a history buff), is that I was walking through a building of living history. A building where classes were held in a different era with a different culture in the area. The second from last picture on this page (http://library.uco.edu/archives/gallery/purchase-photos.cfm?search=1) shows an image of a teaching school in Old North from around 1940. We walked through the whole building and likely passed the area where these students and teachers once stood for this photo. How amazing.
We discovered an area that resembled a secret room hidden by what was formerly walls around it. It was a tiny area that the university architect supposed someone had lived in once because when demolition time came, a bed was found in the room.
Also, the building was struck by lightning at one point and if it had struck one location to its left the building would have been ultimately destroyed but because of the framework (I forget the technical term) the building was saved.
Anyhow, the highlight for me was climbing the stairs into what still serves as the campus bell tower at the top of Old North. At the very top of the building now you see clock faces but before 1906, there were no clock faces and people would go up to that area and take pictures there. I had the chance to look up into a tiny room that at one time in the early 1900s some women entered and sat for pictures in. What a moment.
Anyhow, for some this might just be boring. For others, mildly interesting. But I love history and seeing buildings with living history.
For a preview of what’s going to happen in Old North in the coming years, keep an eye on The Vista this semester!