Lawton fourth graders will go back in time

Lawton_Lawton fourth graders will soon go back in time. They'll travel back to Lawton in 1901. Mattie Beal's name was drawn in a lottery. She chose a 160 acre plot of land that later became known as Lawton, a city that Lawton's fourth graders and Mattie Beal have a very different memory of.

Lawton Public School's Kathleen Hargis introduced herself to Lawton teachers as Mattie Beal. She told them just what Lawton was like a century ago. "Lawton is such a lawless place, I am very alarmed we have to do something about this tent city."

Lawton's founder was also alarmed to hear about the technology of today. "Well I'll have to reserve that because I don't know what you are talking about." But the thought of having a rowdy bunch of fourth graders--is quite appealing. "Well, Mr. Payne and I love to entertain. We have a ballroom upstairs and we quite often have dances and parties, so guests are nothing to us."

At the Mattie Beal home, she says kids will see things like they've never seen before. "There's a burned spot on the kitchen floor and you have to stop and think during that time before they had electricity when they were putting in electricity, they used wood stoves."

This field trip to Mattie Beal's home will be free to Lawton's fourth graders and their schools thanks to a grant from the Oklahoma Humanities Council. The school children will visit the Beal home over the next few months.