|City/Town: • Colony|
|Location Class: • School|
|Year Built: • Early 1950's|
|Year Abandoned: • Late 1960's|
|Status: • Abandoned|
|Photojournalist: • Jennifer Burton • Leslie Flaming|
Colony Public School in northeastern Washita County is the town of Colony,OK. The community took its name from the Seger Colony founded by John Seger. The remains of the Colony Public School occupies the former grounds of the Seger Indian School .
John H. Seger was born in Geauga County, Ohio, February 23, 1846, and died February 6, 1928, at Seger Colony, Washita County, Oklahoma. He was buried at Fairview cemetery at Colony.
In 1911, the population of Colony was estimated to be around 300. In the early 2000’s, the population droped to 147.
The Colony Public School Building and Gymnasium were built in the mid 1950’s after a tornado destroyed the original Colony school and gymnasium on the north side of town in 1951. The last known graduating class was in the late 1960’s. In the 1970’s, the school system consolidated with the town of Corn to form the Washita Heights School District. It is unknown for certain how long the school has been abandoned. There are no known future plans for the buildings.
Located on the same property is Seger Indian School that operated in Colony from 1892 through 1932. On August 15 1932, the school closed permanently.
In 1886 Seger arrived in the area in company with many Arapahos. Later, Cheyennes joined the colony. By 1887 the number of Indians had increased to over five hundred. In 1892 the first brick buildings in Washita County were constructed for an Indian industrial school. Under Seger’s supervision, the Indians made the brick and cut the stone for many of the school structures. Prior to the land run to open the Cheyenne and Arapaho lands to non-Indian settlement, many participants started their race at Colony. Seger was in charge of the more than two thousand prospective settlers whom the U.S. government allowed to begin inside the boundaries because of the dangers of crossing Cobb Creek en masse. In 1895 the Dutch Reformed Church founded a mission at the colony.
William De Lestinier, under government permission, operated a store near the Indian school. Following the 1892 land opening, Zack King and several others established a townsite west of the Indian school and obtained a post office designation as Seger. De Lestinier moved his store to the new townsite. The post office and most of the residents moved four miles west of the school. In 1896 the U.S. Post Office Department approved another post office at the original Seger site, with the name of Colony. Colony School District 109, the last to be established in Washita County, organized in July 1912, due to the closing of the Dutch Reformed Church Mission School, which had been in operation in Colony since 1897.
It was one of eight Indian School that were closing but the only one in Oklahoma. The students were transferred to the Concho Indian School. Although the school shut it doors in 1932, some of the buildings were used as a Cheyenne and Arapaho day school from 1936 to the mid 40’s.
The Colony community had early growth. A bank, blacksmith shop, several general merchandise stores, along with three churches, a newspaper, a hardware and funeral supply enterprise, a small hotel, restaurants, and other businesses soon were established. In 1911 the estimated population was three hundred. In 1932 the Seger Indian School closed. In 1970 the population stood at 201, slowly declining to 163 in 1990. In the 1970s the school system consolidated with Corn to form the Washita Heights School District. At the beginning of the twenty-first century the town had a fire department, a strong city government, active churches, and several small businesses. The 2000 population was 147.
Buildings were also used by Colony Public School from 1951 to the 1960’s. Most of the original buildings have been destroyed by several fires over the years. All that remains today is a smoke stack, the foundation of the original school building and a boarded up house.