Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Sunday, July 5, 2015
These are a series of not very good photographs taken of Natrona County High School, one of three high schools in Casper, Wyoming. It's the oldest school, having been built in 1923, when this school replaced the prior high school, Casper High School. NC's fight song predates the school, and recalls the earlier school, with its lyrics "All Hail To Casper High School".
I was up at NC because I was curious about the monument that appears in front of it. It probably shows something about my teenage mentality, but I didn't know what the monument was for, even though I went to this school and passed by it every day, albeit some 30 years ago. I probably didn't know what it was for then.
Indeed, the whole experience of taking a look at the school through a lens, albeit the lousy Iphone lens, was a bit odd. I spent three years here, my wife graduated from here, her parents graduated from here, and my father graduated from here, but I was struck by how little I took notice of various details of the building. This is true even though I've photographed part of it before, back in high school. In thinking on it, I went through the same door every day, left through that door, and there were entire exterior parts of the school I rarely walked by (and in part for good reason, at the time). It's one of Casper's most beautiful buildings, and I hadn't really appreciated the structure much before.
According to my father, who was almost always right on such details, the building is nearly a copy of one in Denver Colorado, which is just a little larger. Many schools built in this time frame, the 1920s, had similar castle like appearance.
It's interesting to note that this building was built during Casper's big boom of the late teens and early 20s. It fits in, in terms of period of construction, with many of the more significant downtown buildings as well as many of the downtown area Casper churches. A lot of Casper's most striking and substantial buildings date from this period, which saw a major World War One/Post War oil boom boost the local economy.
An interesting detail of NCHS, which I paid very little attention to while there, is the two framed sets of quotations on the building. Obviously intended to instruct the students on their purpose while there, I paid next to no attention to them while there, even though I probably should have.
This part of the building frames in a quote from Article 3 of the Northwest Ordinance, which stated, in full:
Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged. The utmost good faith shall always be observed towards the Indians; their lands and property shall never be taken from them without their consent; and, in their property, rights, and liberty, they shall never be invaded or disturbed, unless in just and lawful wars authorized by Congress; but laws founded in justice and humanity, shall from time to time be made for preventing wrongs being done to them, and for preserving peace and friendship with them.The quote on the school just runs through the first section of the quote.
I have to wonder if a quote like this would even be tolerated on a building today. I doubt it, as the citation to religion and morality would no doubt offend some.
And here's another framed set of quotes. The first quote is from Proverbs Chapter 47, which states:
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.Again, solid advice for the student. Once again, I'm sure today somebody would be offended if a quote from the Old Testament was included on a public building, let alone a school.
This also included a quote from Euripides, which is:
Whoso neglects learning in his youth,Very true indeed.
Loses the past and is dead for the future.
This door at NC has the words above it "Suit the Action to the Word".
And this door proclaims "Education Makes the Man."
This is what I actually went up to investigate:
I thought this might have been a World War One memorial I earlier missed, so I intended to check it out and perhaps to my blog on war memorials. As it turns out, it's nothing of the kind, as the dedication reveals:
I had to look May Hamilton up, but apparently she was a pioneer local educator who was significant in Natrona County schools for many years.
John F. Welch Auditorium, NCHS
I added the photograph above while viewing a concert at NC. This portrays, although not terribly well, the ornate nature of the stage. Statues of Lincoln and Washington are on each side. Photo added on May 16, 2014.
NCHS is currently under reconstruction with parts of the old structure, such as the swimming pool (the oldest indoor pool in Wyoming, coming down. This photo and the ones below show the state of the work as of June 13, 2014.
The last two photographs show NCHS from the air, in July 2015, as construction was ongoing. This photograph was taken from a plane nearly as old as the school, a Ford Tri Motor.