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American History
Chilocco - Today and Yesterday

Chilocco-Haworth Hall

Chilocco-Haworth Hall

One of the buildings on the campus of Chilocco Indian Boarding School was Haworth Hall. When I attended school in 1953-55 the building was even at that time very old. The entrance at the auditorium was one with wide double doors which swung out to a good sized indoor atrium. To the right of this was where the principles office was located. In later years this was moved to a basement room.

I spent some time there after graduating to work as secretary to the principal. Looking back, sometimes I wonder why they hired such a young inexperienced girl. Someone had to fill in for the regular secretary while she was on maternity leave but surely there were more qualified people. Not to complain it was a wonderful time and a great opportunity to work even if it was just a temporary appointment.  I  knew the school, loved the campus, and also was acquainted with a number of the employees. Everyone treated me well and helped me do my job.

From the large entry room one looked up wide steps which led to the upstairs rooms. To the left were the open doors for the auditorium and stage. A wide walk way went all the way through and out identical doors directly across this great area.

Part of that very large staircase went to the basement classrooms and part of it went on upstairs to classrooms there.

The stage in the auditorium was where many different presentations were made for the students enjoyment. There was a projector room on up to the top of this room and this is where movies were shown on a screen. These movies were where girls and boys were allowed to enjoy each other's company as a kind of date. We all walked from Home Five, Four, or Three depending on where we were staying. The matrons sometimes walked behind us, other times they drove their cars slowly while we walked. Everything was very tightly chaperoned.

On those nights we wore our  best dresses. Some girls wore high heels. We usually always wore hose. The boys dressed in their best suits and ties. The occasion was altogether festive.

Speeches, pageants, church services on Sunday, visiting dignitaries, all shared their moments in the limelight.  The choir also presented their programs here. On the nights the choir performed everyone, boys and girls, gathered  in the basement. I suppose this was to get us organized according to the way we had to march into the auditorium.  We always had fun during these times. Excitement ran high as we were glad to be doing something different.

Sunday's were the only time we wore the choir robes as I can remember. I was in the octet and sometimes had a solo. It was all fun. Mrs. Dyer was our music teacher and I can remember her getting frustrated with me because sometimes, I forgot the words. I finally resorted to carrying a small card in my hand with a kind of short hand on it listing the first word of each line. She didn't like that much but it was better than forgetting the words.  Most of the Indian children were shy and didn't want to perform with a solo. I wasn't shy, so, tag I was it. There were other girls who had beautiful voices and when they would step forward it was a joy for everyone.

This stage was where I performed with my dancing. That was a labor of love on my part. The stage lights, music by one of the three B's, and the students accepting  my efforts all are great memories too.

Today old Haworth Hall, named after the gentleman who chose the site for Chilocco, is quite alone and quiet. There are no voices from the choir. So far away are the  nights of fun with a date at a movie.  Nothing but the sound of the wind through the broken windows remains. The old maroon velvet curtain still hangs across the top on the stage with the beautiful C in calligraphy at the middle.

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