Restoring history: help bring old chairs back to life at Topeka High

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — Leaving your mark in history. It’s sometimes hard to come by, but not at Topeka High School.

Every time you drive past the school, one thing probably always catches your eye. The look of history on the building.

“There’s a story behind all those memories,” Joan Barker of the Topeka High Historical Society said. “And the building is the vessel for all those stories.”

Not many schools look, or are built, like Topeka High anymore.

“We’re getting ready to celebrate 150th anniversary of Topeka High School, that was established in 1871,” Barker said.

In 1871, there were two sets of buildings that were Topeka High School. However, the amount of students started to over power the size of the buildings.

A bond was then passed in 1928 to create a new building. So what you see now, is the building that’s been there since 1931.

History goes beyond the bricks, though. To the inside of the building, but it’s not an obvious piece of history that’s sticking out right now.

“Restoring, and repairing, refurbishing chairs that were initially in the student cafeteria when this building was built in 1931.”

That’s the latest project the Topeka High Historical Society is taking on.

“And they need a lot of attention because they’re over 80 years old,”

Joan Barker, Topeka High Historical Society

The chairs were replaced and used in other areas of the school for years. Today, there’s about 50 of them left in the building and used in the teachers cafeteria.

“One of our graduates is doing the restoration work on these,” Barker explained. Dave Clark is in the class of 1967 and is a local master carpenter.

Trying to fancy them up, before celebrating 150 years of Topeka High.

At the start of 2021, Topeka High is going to have dozens of celebrations for the anniversary, with hundreds of guests coming in and out of the building. They hope to have all the chairs restored by then.

So here’s how you can help them do that:

  • Donate to Historical Society to refinish one of the remaining chairs
  • $200 a chair to restore
  • You’ll get a permanent plaque on the chair as a thank you for donating
  • Click here to donate, and use the ‘donor’s choice’ option to donate for a chair

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories