|City/Town: • Yukon|
|Location Class: • Hospital • Residential|
|Built: • 1950's | Abandoned: • February 28th, 2004|
|Status: • Demolished|
|Photojournalist: • Michael Schwarz • Mary Evans|
Many in Yukon, Oklahoma passed around several rumors as to the actual identity of the place. Some said it’s an insane asylum; some said it was a church. Many thrill seekers claimed to know exactly what it was, but then again, they only went at night and assumed the worst. In reality, after digging through old files and asking the next door neighbors, I found out it was a nursing home for people with mentally challenged and physical disabilities for Yukon’s community. Once the health officials came in to “check” on how things were going, they found no one had been tested for tuberculosis among many other health problems. It was also a home for mentally disabled children at one time.
In 2001, the facility faced heated press about 2 patients that were abused and problems were found with “internal patient security and failures to provide nutritional support for residents with severe weight loss.” as stated by Jim Killackey (Staff writer for the Daily Oklahoman.) As a result of this abuse, Cottonwood was threatened with closure.
“We’ll fight this – absolutely.” Administrator Barbara Baker stated. “Our history has been that if there’s a problem, we are going to fix it. Every nursing home in Oklahoma has had deficiencies. We are following the letter of the law in trying to correct things.” “One resident kicked another client in the leg and threw a cup of spit at another” according to the Health Department during inspection.
“The Health Department survey, conducted June 25-27, also found deficiencies including untreated bedsores and unaddressed weight losses, inappropriate diets for patients, a lack of proper staff training, poor dental care, and residents exposing their genitalia and breasts. Because Cottonwood Manor residents aren’t bedfast, discoveries of pressure sores on the hips and elbows of some residents were particularly disturbing, health agency officials said.”
For years after, the nursing home had been at a loss of more than $20,000/month along with $250,000/month in government financial support. As a result the announcement of it’s official closing soon followed as stated in The Oklahoman on February 28th, 2004.
Shortly after, every patient was moved to various other nursing homes, and Cottonwood was left alone with no hope. A couple of years later, a minister bought the property in hopes of renovating it for use as a church. He even posted a “Resurrection Life Church” sign on the outside of the abandoned building. Of course, nothing happened, and many people saw the “Church idea” as a scam more than anything else.
The building now sits in the middle of Yukon vandalized and covered in unwanted graffiti. Even though most today want to have a thrilling experience there every year, the true history will hopefully not be forgotten.
Article by Photojournalist: Michael Schwarz
Update 2015: Cottonwood Manor has been demolished by the city.
Killackey, Jim. “State Orders Nursing Home Closed in Canadian County.” The Daily Oklahoman, 10 July 2001.
Killackey, Jim. “Cottonwood Manor to Close Doors Due to Financial Woes.” The Daily Oklahoman, 28 Feb. 2004.