Wynnewood, Indian Territory
Diane Gann posted images of both Indianola College buildings on the OKGenWeb site. The Wynnewood New Era provided news from and about the school. The school ad (right) is from the Daily Ardmoreite; the image of Essie Crabtree (below) is from New Era (Newspapers.com); the Sanborn campus map is from the Library of Congress; the commemorative spoon is used by permission from Silverspoon.com.
Classes opened at Indianola College on September 15, 1902 for 92 students. Sponsored by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, its goal was to “educate each pupil into that Christian character that consecrates all its powers to God and manifests them in the fullest and highest activity.” Like many colleges at the time, it offered primary, grammar, and academy classes. The Presbyterian directory shows no college-level students in either 1907 or 1908.
The main focus of Indianola College was fine arts. A fall recital in 1903 featured three young teachers—half of the faculty—doing violin and piano numbers interspersed with dramatic readings. That year a student/faculty drama club performed “The Last Loaf,” a temperance play. Like activities continued through the life of the school. Indianola College developed three literary societies, and a traveling party of 100 followed the debate team to a match with Hargrove College. A 1907 recital by Miss Essie Crabtree, an elocution student, (left) drew newspaper coverage.
In 1904 Indianola College added a commercial department under Professor M. A. McClain. The three-term commercial course featured bookkeeping, business writing, commercial law, and commercial arithmetic taught by the actual business model.
Actual Presbyterian support for the Indianola College was limited. Each school year began with promises of greater funding and higher enrollment; neither materialized. By 1908 newspapers were reporting that the school would be sold to the Methodists and converted to a feeder school for Kendall University. This also did not materialize. By March 25, 1909, Indianola College was out of money and closed its doors.
Bricks and Mortar
The City of Wynnewood provided 22 acres of land and a four-story brick building for the school. The Sanborn Fire Insurance map shows that it was 52 feet wide with a central bell tower. The upper floor, with its Mansard roof and dormer windows, appears to contain dormitory rooms. The library, furnished by the Matrons Magazine Club, was regarded as the best in the city. By 1905 equipment had arrived to establish a chemistry laboratory. By 1906 Professor McClain had set up a bank in the building along with other offices for practical business transactions. The building also contained an auditorium, scene of the recitals, debates, plays and the lecture series.
In 1903 a dormitory for girls was completed. It was a two-story brick building measuring 28 feet and containing twelve rooms. It featured electric lights and hot air heat. On three sides a veranda encircled both floors.
When the college closed, the main building was returned to the city if Wynnewood. Refurbished, it served as the high school until 1927.
Team name: The Oklahoma Post refers to teams as “Indians.”
With an enrollment of roughly 100 students, a number that included females as well as primary and grammar students, Indianola College would have had a limited pool of students to create a sports team. Add the limited resources of the school, and the wonder is that a sports program existed at all.
The New Era shows a football game in 1904—an11-5 victory over Hargrove College. Two other games made the newspapers. In 1906 an Indianola team, described as “fast,” lost to Norman High School on the University of Oklahoma field. Finally, in 1908 an Indianola team that may have contained Wynnewood High School players defeated Selvidge Business College of Ardmore 10-0.
Indianola College also played some baseball. In the spring of 1905, the New Era notes a 7-5 victory over Selvidge Business College. Before the school closed in 1909 there were games against Davis High School and Paul’s Valley High School.