Preserving the past

Drew Butler

An important part of building the future is understanding and preserving the past. Because the children of today are the leaders of tomorrow, it’s never too early to get them excited about learning history. Area kids now have the opportunity to have fun and learn about Ardmore’s history with the new Main Street Kids activity book.

The book was created by Ardmore’s Community Development Department with funding provided by a grant from the State Historic Preservation Office. Each page focuses on a different downtown building and as kids complete various activities they will learn a bit about each structure’s history. Community Development Director Jessica Scott said her team spent several months compiling all of the information laid out in the book.

“We wanted to create a path down Main Street from Central Park all the way to the Mercy Train, and we thought a lot about which buildings we wanted to highlight,” Scott said. “Once we picked our buildings, our City Planning Technician Robert Millhollon did a lot of research on their history and found the photos we used.”

The photos were then redrawn by hand by the publisher and combined with unique activities. Whenever possible the activities relate in some way to the building itself.

“One of my favorite activities is a maze based on the bandstand in Central Park,” Scott said. “The bandstand is on the National Registry of Historic Places. It started out back in the Indian Territory days. People would come out to the bandstand for events, and then stay the night at the wagon yards which were located nearby. So to correlate with that, the maze activity has you get your wagon to the wagon yard which is right by the bandstand.”

Scott said she thinks it’s important that children learn about the city’s history and the Main Street Kids Program is a great way of reaching them.

“Our Main Street Kids Program is something new the city has developed to get children interested in preservation,” Scott said. “By learning about our past we can make our future better. I think this is a great way to help children understand why the past is so important and why it’s important to preserve the past for the future.”

The activity books are currently available for free at the Ardmore Community Development Department office. Main Street Kids will also be setting up booths at upcoming community events like Taste of Ardmore.

“We’ll be out at all the events and people can always come by and see us at the office,” Scott said. “My whole staff is so excited about this project, and we’d be thrilled if kids wanted to come in and talk to us about history!”