Charles W. Eliot School was first opened in 1928 with an enrollment of 91 children. The original structure was of brick and consisted of four rooms on the east portion of the block, running north and south on Rockford. Two of these rooms were devoted to special subjects and two to home room classes. The staff was made up of three teachers and a teaching principal. The homes in this district were widely scattered with the many vacant lots a predominant feature of the area. Eliot itself, at first, was all but lost in a five-foot stand of weeds and grass, and roads around it were hub deep in mud after a prolonged rain. No kindergarten or cafeteria were available until a temporary wooden building was put up in 1933 or 1934. Eliot's PTA worked hard on beautifying the grounds. Many of the shrubs were donated by the Tulsa Park Board and Mr. Philip Thomas. The trees surrounding the block were native ones dug up in the woods and planted by our custodian, Mr. A.R. Pogue, and a number of the sixth grade boys.
The pictures below are of the west side of the original building, taken during the May Day Festival on May 1, 1929.
By 1937, our building had proved inadequate for our needs, and the 36th street wing was added. This provided a science room, an art room, and a small auditorium.
The picture below is from the school performance of The Magic Christmas Bell in the small auditorium on December 21, 1937.
With the sharp upswing of building activity in the area at the beginning of the war years, it became necessary to erect a two-room prefabricated building on the grounds.
It was possible to accommodate all the children in this district only by moving two teachers and their classes off the school grounds entirely and into Brookside Baptist Church. Starting the year 1947-48 four teachers and their children were located at the church. It was during this year, however, that Eliot's latest addition was completed and all four of the rooms were able to finish the year on the grounds of the school.
1947 - Construction of Gymnasium and Cafeteria Wings
Our most recent wings, that on 36th Place and the large central wing running parallel with it, house a beautiful kindergarten, large combination library and cafeteria, a community center combined auditorium and gymnasium, a boiler room, a principal's office and reception room, teacher's lounge and four class rooms. Eliot's rise in school population from 91 pupils in 1928 to 750 in 1948 marked it as the most rapidly growing school in the city. Most of this increase took place after 1940 as many new homes were in the process of being built.
The PTA paid $180.90 for the installation of an intercommunication system for the school.
The PTA went on record urging the City Council to install a traffic light at 36th Street and Peoria Avenue. $140.00 was appropriated to buy a new mimeograph machine for the office. $112.50 was spent to buy a picture of Charles W. Eliot, the picture being hung in the school library.
2 story addition on 36th Street 1997-1998
The 1997-1998 school year was a momentous year. After anxiously watching workmen complete the new wing, our students and staff made a smooth transition into the Library/Technology Center. To celebrate, Eliot held a colossal Birthday party to honor the new facility, 70 years of Eliot, and Tulsa's Centennial. The First Lady of our State, Cathy Keating, and other Alumnae helped us celebrate. Brookside Business Association adopted Eliot Elementary School. The adoption formed a partnership that encompasses school, business, and home. This philosophy molds the three entities into one strong unit. Our talented students are challenged by the continuous and dedicated work of our staff. The foundations for learning that are built at Eliot will last for a lifetime. The support from parents and community help our children succeed. - Earlene Gathright, Principal. Quote from the 1997-1998 yearbook.
Google Earth shot of the Eliot grounds. The solid green roof is the original 1928 building, with the 1937 addition edged in green.
The building was closed over the summer to install a new sprinkler system throughout the building. A new playground was also built to replace one damaged by fire, and staff parking spaces were added to the west side of the property.
The building is closed over the summer for a complete interior building remodel - new flooring, lockers, and paint throughout. Everything in the entire building had to be packed up! The office will be moved from the gymnasium/auditorium wing to the room south of the columned entryway on Rockford, providing a secure entrance for the school.