... or, as it appears more often in polite society, “The only constant is change.” In any case, I think both quotes are correctly attributed to Captain Obvious.
At this point, you need to thank your lucky stars that I haven’t just finished binge-watching an entire season of The Curse of Oak Island; otherwise, this story might be full of references to those inane goings-on.
Additional treasure maps, I mean blueprints, from Fairview’s days before our arrival, bring to light the myriad alterations that took place to craft our unique environment. The school that took over from what served well one hundred years ago at the corner of Fairview Ave and Catalpa Dr. only had to deal with fewer than 400 students in 1929, but it wasn’t long until the senior class alone would flirt with such large numbers.
Other than the sheer force of numbers, changing curricula also necessitated their fair share of modifications. Fortunately, 2408 Philadelphia Drive was built to be able to adapt to the changes that would keep it ahead of the curve, as well as expectations.
One of the areas that changed on the most regular basis was what we knew as the shop and gymnasium portions of the north wing. Schools had to serve both the academic and extra-curricular aspects of adolescence, so there were vocational education classes that could help prepare students with job-ready training, just as athletics and allied activities served to provide interaction beyond the scope of the classroom.
As blatantly pro-college as Mr. Longnecker and Miss Folger were, they knew they had to provide for everyone, at least to some level of scrutiny. After all, there was a stained glass window that said that’s the way it had to be.
Behold ... how the shop area, underneath what would be the gym of our day, looked from the get-go. What do you mean you have no idea what you’re looking at? OK, Sacajawea, let me orient you. Our tennis courts would eventually be off to the far left. That central corridor running left to right would be there, then as now, but you can see it doesn’t go all the way through to the outside. Our cafeteria would be well off to the right. (If it’s Wednesday, there would be Salisbury Steak.) About the only thing that is remotely the same is the wood shop.
Ah, the good ol‘ days ... before OSHA.
It was a bit of Patterson Co-op before its time.
For me, the neatest bit of eye candy is that small roundy thing at the top center ... sorta looks like a pie. I know, ancient religious symbol from the Templar Knights, right? You’d think I was equally crazy if I told you it was a spiral staircase, but that’s exactly what it is. Look closely and you’ll see that it’s coming up out of a boys’ locker room ... a bit odd when you think that there was a girls’ locker room above that spot in our ‘60s.
Things start to make better sense when you see the drawing of the floor directly above. Here you can see that there was both a boys and girls locker room next to each other and your Victorian sense of morality will be pleased to know that the spiral staircase does, in fact, go into the boy’s area. But think of it this way ... health class, aka sex ed, would not have required a separate classroom had that not been the case.
So, before the additions of the early ‘50s, the entire gym was only half the size of what we would know later, and I’ll go out on a very safe limb here and say that gym classes were not co-ed. There’s just no telling what could have happened if boys circa 1940 came face-to-face with an exposed female ankle. I mean, that would have been our parents’ generation and how ... really, who would ... Oh, forget I mentioned it.
As long as we’re talking about those very large additions that gave us our gym, cafeteria and auditorium, as well as the new rooms off to the west along Hillcrest, take a look at this drawing. While it’s meant to depict some arcane plumbing and heating information that we could care less about, it does show very clearly how those additions matched up with the original structure. At last, now we can see that what was the original auditorium was no larger than our cafeteria and kitchen, not including the senior room. That is precious little real estate for auditorium seating and a stage, so it’s no surprise what went to the top of the wish list for expansion.
Too bad there’s no mention of where the money pit or drill hole 10X was.
Not all the changes were so grand and glorious, and no discipline was exempt from making room for improvement. On this print you can see the before and after of Miss Sharkey’s domain. It was only one room, but she managed to accommodate so many different media. Clearly, interest in the arts necessitated doing away with a small locker room to the west as well as several ancillary spaces that were part of the classroom to the east.
Strange, but even I, Mr.-I-don’t-know-art,-but-I-know-what-I-like, remember that tiny set of steps from the classroom up into the storage area. That could only mean I was lost one day and stumbled in there by mistake.
The same can be said for expansions of the biology room and the library in our part of the ‘60s. I enjoyed Mr. Vance’s spin on biology my freshman year in the small version of the room and, I seem to recall that might have been one of his last years. I’m quite sure it had nothing to do with anything I could have done ... like maybe with parts of dissected frogs left over and not disposed of properly before the holiday break.
And while we’re at it, I’d like to go on record as saying it was not my doing that a petri dish of methyl mercaptan was placed near the cold air return in Mr. Nisonger’s Chem II lab. I may have written a report on how to synthesize it, but I cannot take credit for the demonstration of its effects. Hey, as far as I knew, it was just another fire drill ... nothing any worse than some of the smells coming from Miss Starr’s home ec room next door.Miss Fabian’s library also benefitted from L and F’s certainty that larger study and research spaces just had to be better than smaller spaces. Here, you can see that the library, just like the biology area, absorbed an adjacent classroom. Do you suppose that’s why they had to stop offering advanced penmanship?
This report only scratches the surface of the blueprints and architectural studies that used to be kept in archival storage with DPS. It’s not hard to speculate on their fate, once their brick and mortar versions were no longer. As far as confirming or denying any evidence that either The Holy Grail or The Ark of the Covenant were once there, I must remain mute, citing global security interests.
But, now that the statute of limitations has expired, I will tell you that Mr. Longnecker was a Mason. Take that for what it’s worth.