The History of Garfield
In early Enid, 10th street on the east side of town marked the city limits and "East Hill", from about 7th through 10th streets, was an elite residential area.
The first school on the Garfield site, 900 East Broadway, was a small frame building constructed in 1894, and was called the East Hill School. Classes for grades one through eight were held there until the early 1920's.
A clipping from an Enid newspaper related an interview with Mrs. J. R. Batterton, 1914 W. Cherokee, who began teaching school in Enid in a frame schoolhouse on North Independence, then went the second year to teach at the East Hill School for eleven years.
She recalled the potbellied stove that had to be refueled many times during the day. Children sitting near the stove would be too hot and those away from it too cold, so they rotated seats several times during the day. "Many days I'd have them bring gunny sacks and rugs to put on the floor under their feet."
She said that the school was L-shaped, a two room frame building set on blocks instead of a solid foundation. "I can still remember how the cold winter wind would gust up through the floorboards!"
There was a large teaching chart at the front of the room on an easel. The first and second graders kept her supplied with apples and doughnuts. Mrs. Batterton regularly read a story to the children and said that recess time always meant marbles and all types of outdoor games.
Her first year at East Hill she taught Marquis James, who was to become a prize-winning author. Marquis was always a little late to school. "No matter what I was doing when he arrived, Marquis would always tip his little hat and say, 'Morning, Miss Edna'."
In 1907 the frame building was replaced by a brick structure of eight classrooms and basement, and the name was changed to Garfield, honoring James A. Garfield, the 18th president. This building was used until February 14, 1918, when it burned. That was Valentine's Day and the children's joy over no school that day was overshadowed by the fact that all their Valentines had gone up in flames.
In 1916 or 1917, a frame building to house overflow classes was erected on the Garfield grounds. After the fire, this building was used for the first two grades, and other classes were sent to nearby schools until wooden barracks could be constructed along the northern side of the school grounds. These barracks were then used for classes until the school could be rebuilt.
The cornerstone for the previous building was laid in 1919, and the building was used for the first time in December 1920 until 2012.
The building was red brick with white gothic columns, and the words, "Ye Shall Know the Truth, and the Truth Shall Make Ye Free', were inscribed over the south entrance. The words are now displayed on the new building's entrance.
The Garfield district is one of Enid's earliest residential areas, and consequently the school has seen many changes. Garfield classrooms have housed overflow classes from Longfellow Middle School. After the 1943 fire at the high school, they were used for five years for high school classes.
The current building was completed after a bond issue in 2012.
Garfield's principals include:
1901 - 1913, J. W. Tyler
2014-Present, Jane Johnson