Friends of Bill Dunn, a former student who now lives in Texas, donated enough money to restore the old English room in the school.
The purpose of this room is to serve as a reminder of what houses, (called shotgun houses) of the 1920s and 1930s in a sawmill town looked like. We will have to agree that their floors didn't look nearly this nice, however. The room is furnished with period furniture, with nothing later than the 1930s when sawmills pretty much shut down, after the virgin timber was cut out. Norman still had sawmills, but not on the scale previously experienced.
In a shotgun house the entire family lived in one, two or three rooms. The rooms ran straight one behind the other, and usually the main room served as what we would call a living-room, dinning room, and bedroom. The other room served as a kitchen and sleeping room. Sometimes a quilt or cloth was hung between the sleeping areas to provide some privacy. No one had an indoor bathroom in those days. Our room shows the family living in one room, with the furniture grouped according to its use. We have the adult bedroom, the entertainment area (checkers, dominos, magazines, telephone, and radio), the kitchen and sewing area, and a children's area.
The kitchen area features a wooden refrigerator, a 1920s butane stove, an old sewing machine, dressmaker's form, wooden ironing board, and many flat irons. Everyone who visits this room had a good time remembering things from their own past. The younger kids enjoy the room and love to ask questions on how things were used and want to try everything out. We let them, this is a hands-on museum. We don't try to collect perfect pieces, we want our items to look used, as they were, and we want everyone to touch and enjoy.
Almost all the items in this room were obtained locally. However, we take donations from anywhere, as long as it was something that might have been found in the area during the time period we are re-inventing.
Click HERE for a pdf with Bill Dunn's story, which hangs on the wall in the finished room.
Check our more of our BEFORE & AFTER photos.