One of my many incredibly nerdy hobbies is collecting old school yearbooks from my hometown of Lexington, Missouri. It’s a sleepy small town now, but at one time around the turn of the 20th century, Lexington was booming and was the home of several colleges as well as several public school buildings. The oldest yearbook I own is from the Lexington College for Young Women from 1910. Most of my other yearbooks are Lexington High School yearbooks from the 1920s that used to be named “The Final Hatch.”
I love looking through them and dreaming about what my hometown was like then. And I try to imagine what life was like for the students. Did they go through some of the same drama and problems that my students experience? Was there bullying? What were the expectations? As a teacher, it is also very cool to see course descriptions and curriculum printed for several of the departments. That fascinates me. History! It’s also neat to see the advertisement pages in the back. Some of the businesses had 2-digit phone numbers, if they had a phone at all.
And, of course, I wonder what it was like to be a teacher in those days. Several of my yearbooks were originally owned by Verna Owen (pictured below). The only thing I know about Verna is that she taught in Lexington for many years. The inside cover of one of them is even signed. And, from the writing on this page, we see that someone knew her as Aunt Verna. This tells me that I’m probably at least the third owner of this particular yearbook. Sometimes when going through them I thank Ms. Owen out loud for taking good care of her yearbooks so that I could enjoy them now.
Many of the photos below are from one of the old high school buildings that no longer stands. I never got to see it in my lifetime. I sure wish I could go back in time and take a tour!
The next building to serve as Lexington High School would later be where I attended middle school from the fourth through the eighth grade. It was a pretty large building that opened its doors to students in 1927. I have a lot of memories from this old building. I still dream about it often. Unfortunately, it no longer stands. A sad and strangely small-looking empty lot sits in its place.
I was very sad when the building was torn down. I was away at college at the time, but my best friend took the picture below and sent it to me. Thanks to a group of high school students, I was able to purchase a brick from this building. It sits here on my desk.