Elkins High School
1926 - 1993

Original EHS Slate Blackboards for Sale

"Can be seen at Mary's Greenhouse and Muffler's, Brake's and More!"



Elkins High School
Tuesday, February 2, 2010

 

 

In January, 2009, Elkins City Council voted to condemn the old Elkins High School. It had sat vacant since 1993 when the new High Elkins High School opened and began accepting students. In November of 2009 the demolition team was on premise dismantling and discarding everything left behind. I decided to look inside the old school building one last time. It was a somber experience walking through this wreck of a building strewn with debris and obviously suffering from 16 long years of total neglect. I thought about all the students who had once filled the hallways, ate in the cafeteria, exercised in the gym, gathered in the auditorium, and yes, stared at blackboards day in and day out.  

Looking around I was surprised the blackboards were still there. Although the moldings had been removed the blackboards in many of the rooms remained intact with a few spray paint embellishments here and there. When I asked the head of the demolition team about the blackboards he asked, “How much will you give me?” A bargain was struck and my son and I began dismantling the boards. They were stuck tight to the plaster walls and we soon found how heavy they were as we broke them loose. It was a real challenge to gingerly pry these massive artifacts of stone off the walls, then carry them down the steps and to the truck.

My original intention was to make flooring out of the slate. The fronts are smooth while the backs have a beautiful natural slate texture. But, I could not cut the slate into flooring without first offering Elkins a piece of their history back. So, I came up with a few designs and went to work in the woodshop. Pieces are now framed in various native woods for anyone who might have an interest in owning a usable piece of local history that will last a very long time. I will make them available until the slate or the interest is gone, whichever comes first. Custom sizes are a possibility.

Aside from their local history slate blackboards have arguably been the single most important tool (besides good teachers) in classrooms throughout the world. They were first used in the United States at West Point in 1801. It didn't take long to realize their value and as the railroad industry expanded they spread to schoolhouses throughout the land and revolutionized teaching. The slate boards as found in the old Elkins High School were phased out during the 1960's in favor of the green chalkboard. During the early 1990's the green boards succumbed to the advent of white boards and now we find ourselves in the digital age.

 

Pictures from the last days of the old Elkins High School
Click here.

Some blackboard pictures
Click here.

Slate Blackboard Care
Click here.
 
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