Out of the Museum

And the subject last week and this week is desks

By: Carol Feineman, Editor
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Where: Beermann Plaza at 640 5th St.

When: Open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.

Free: Donations always accepted




We like desks. We use them at school, work and home.

Desks are also historical, as last week’s and this week’s mystery item show.

Can you guess which area bank had this desk? Send your answer to Answers will appear in next week’s newspaper.

The desk is just one of the hundreds of items displayed at the Lincoln Area Archives Museum at 640 5th St.

Two Lincoln residents knew the answer about what the desk brackets were used for in last week’s mystery desk.

Doug Brown was even kind enough to provide his own photo showing what the brackets were used for (see above). Brown explained, “The ‘old ironsides’ desk in (last week’s) LNM is mounted with brackets for a narrow shelf to be installed on it to provide space for books, papers, etc., something like the attached photo. In your photo, someone has removed the shelf.

This got my interest as I spent one full summer during college with Seattle Public Schools maintenance division going from school to school across the city and pulling out those antique (and heavy) floor-mounted desks to be replaced by movable desks. It was pretty vigorous manual labor yanking the desks out of the floor, hauling them out of classrooms, and then separating wood from iron for recycling. It was good money for this college student!”

Susan Worthington, a 30-year Lincoln resident, sat at a similar desk at her primary school. She explains more about the brackets: “It was another shelf and some had a hole for an ink well.”

    And now, a little history about the 1903 wooden two-seater desk previously from Lincoln High School. During their ’30s and early ’40s high school years, boyfriend Jack Griggs carved his and girlfriend Ruth Barry’s names into the back side of the lift-up wooden desk. Their names joined other Lincoln High School students’ names and initials. 

The school used some of these “two  seater” desks at the J Street campus. Jack and Ruth married and lived and worked locally, Ruth at P.G. & E. as a receptionist and Jack at Gladding McBean & Co.

The wooden desks were replaced by fall 1950 with metal desks when the new school on 6th Street opened. The older, surplus furniture was sold. 

Later Ruth’s niece, Sue Barry Carlson and her husband, Bob, obtained the school desk with the carved names of her aunt, Ruth, and her uncle, Jack.  The Carlsons placed the desk in the museum where both serve as docents and Sue is museum membership chairwoman.

Now is a great time to support the museum with your membership for 2018–2019. Call the Lincoln Area Archives Museum at 534 3800 or better yet, visit the museum and speak to a docent from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.