Documentary features Moore's Old School

The building that once housed all grades of Moore schools still stands, and many who went to school there remember it fondly.
BY VALLERY BROWN vbrown@opubco.com Published: March 28, 2012
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— The date engraved above the enormous stone entrance of the Old School only hints at its storied past. It was 1928 — the year Herbert Hoover won the White House. The year Oklahoma's Governor's Mansion was dedicated by Democrat Henry S. Johnston, who lived in the mansion only a matter of months before being impeached.

Old School opened that year with all grade levels of students until the 1958-1959 school year, when a new high school opened.

It wasn't the first Moore public school. The original building burned in 1927. The 1928 school incorporated the burned building's old brick and standing walls.

The school is now featured in a documentary, “If These Walls Could Talk: A History of Moore's Old School,” produced by Brent Wheelbarger of Trifecta Communications, a company that has offices in the building at 201 N Broadway.

“What we figured out and what occurred to me while we were doing this film is that this is really a snapshot in time,” Wheelbarger said.

Former students remain close. The stories they tell of the Depression, World War II and into the 1950s are pure Americana.

The building that had come to be known as the Old School was closed by the district in the 1980s and later sold. The first floor has been remodeled, but the second floor remains eerily the same, old lockers and all.

Memories abound

Wes Rigsby, 74, remembers that second floor well. One Halloween, a milk cow was loosed upstairs.

“A dairy cow will go upstairs, but it won't come down,” Rigsby said. “They're nosy, and they'll slobber on everything.”

Rigsby claimed to know many details of the incident but denied involvement: “I don't know the statute of limitations on something like that,” he said. “But the next year, the janitor was waiting outside the door with an unloaded shotgun. ... He wasn't going to let it happen again.”

Rigsby, who graduated in 1956, is a member of the alumni association board. He remains close friends with Gene Seiter, 73, who graduated the same year.

“Now it seems sort of like a blur,” Seiter said. “But not the camaraderie. You were in school with the same people for 12 years.”

YouTube: Watch an excerpt from If These Walls Could Talk:...
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