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Cowden gym

Cowden Gym

Location Class:
Built: 1935 | Abandoned: 1968
Status: Demolished
Photojournalist: Jeff Hodge

Driving down the dirt road there is not much left of the Cowden Independent School District, in fact only one building remained for many years. That was the Cowden Gym, built in 1935 by the WPA which appropriated $13,636 for the project.

Cowden was a rural community that banded together, the school being a big piece of that community feeling. Graduations were held here annually as the typically not large groups of graduates walked across the auditorium stage. Funeral services were for citizens were held here being one of the biggest buildings in town. Plays such as “Darling Brat” were put on by students bringing in a crowd of parents and friends to watch. Town meetings, the community club, polling and more events all took place in this historic building.

Just as it started the Cowden Consolidated Schools closed in 1968 and students began attending the Cordell Public Schools. The community attempted to keep the building with its continued events such as weddings, reunions, funerals, and parties but became too costly for the small community to keep up with. It fell abandoned for decades and would be used as a storage building for farm equipment. The lonely Cowden Gymnasium joined its other fellow former buildings turning into nothing but dirt and memories. It was finally demolished in 2020 but those that fancied the building when they passed by can find solace in the fact that the bricks from the building were reused to prevent erosion in ditches and other projects.







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Emily Cowan

Emily is a two-time published author of "Abandoned Oklahoma: Vanishing History of the Sooner State" and "Abandoned Topeka: Psychiatric Capital of the World". With over two hundred published articles on our websites. Exploring since 2018 every aspect of this has become a passion for her. From educating, fighting to preserve, writing, and learning about history there is nothing she would rather do.

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