The Edmond Sun

November 14, 2012

Territorial School House reports theft of antique desk

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — An antique desk from Edmond’s Territorial Schoolhouse has been reported stolen, police said.

In 1889, Jennie Forster went to Brown’s Lumber Company and ordered enough lumber, on credit, to build a school house for the new village of Edmond in Oklahoma Territory. The Ladies School Aid Society, consisting of 15 women, had been formed and the ladies were determined to have a proper school for the local children.

The women set to work immediately to earn the money to pay back the lumber bill, according to history by the Edmond Historic Preservation Trust. They badgered husbands, merchants and citizens.

At about 11 a.m. Nov. 9, Edmond Police Officer Jeff Smith was dispatched to the structure, at 124 E. Second St., in reference to a burglary, according to an incident report filed by Officer Jeff Smith.

Beverly Terry, a school house volunteer, told the officer that sometime between 3 p.m. Nov. 8 and 10 a.m. Nov. 9 a school desk was stolen. The desk was missing from the back row and there was no sign of forced entry; all doors and windows were locked and the alarm was set, police said. Dispatch had not reported any alarms during that time.

Terry told the officer said she didn’t believe anyone from the volunteer group might have taken the desk somewhere. She had called all the people with keys to the school to check.

The school house is insured with Hancock Insurance Company. Value of the antique desk is listed as $450.

Wednesday afternoon at the school house, Terry said she was prepping for Girl Scouts who would be coming to make Christmas ornaments. That’s when she saw that the desk was missing.

“It was really upsetting to me,” said the longtime volunteer.

Terry talked about all of the various groups in the community that have contributed to the renovation of the structure in one way or another. It’s used by many groups too, including today’s students from Edmond Public Schools, she said.

By August 1889 the new school house was completed on one of six future school house lots. By the end of the first year, all the money for the lumber had been paid back and most importantly the Thanksgiving Game Dinner to benefit the project raised enough money to finish paying the school teacher for the school year.

The first class of 19 students reported Sept. 16, 1889. By the end of the term there were 37 pupils. A decade after the school house was built, the structure was sold and remodeled into a home. It later served as the site of Sanders Camera Shop until the Edmond Historic Preservation Trust purchased the property with the intent of restoring the building to its original use as an educational site.

In 1997, the Edmond City Council gave the Historic Preservation Trust the authority to investigate, acquire and preserve the structure. It was restored and dedicated in 2007.

Terry said she is going to start checking area antique shops to see if it turns up there. She said she believes the double desk was made back in the 1910s or 1920s, and it would be similar in appearance but not exactly like the others in the structure. 


IF YOU have information about the school desk, call Edmond Crime Stoppers at 359-4466, use the city’s online crime tip form at or text a tip to 625-TEXT or 625-8398. The service will not generate a radio call or bring police to your location. You will never receive a return text. Information sent is disseminated to the appropriate EPD detectives.