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Oney School Gym

Location Class:
Built: 1939 | Abandoned: 1994
Status: AbandonedPrivate Property
Photojournalist: Michael SchwarzEmily Cowan
Provided by Michael Merriam

All that is left of the Oney School is the 1939 gymnasium constructed of large stones. The brick building that housed the classrooms sat close nearby and was actually two buildings mashed together. The original building was constructed in 1929 and in 1939 an addition was made as well as the construction of the large gymnasium. Grades K through 12 attended in this school until around 1980 when it became a K through eighth-grade building. A metal building was constructed nearby for grades 9-12.

Thanks to a 51.4-point scoring average this season, Oney’s Shelly Mooter has watched her career scoring total rocket to 4,302 points. Provided by Doug Hoke February 24, 1988.

The Oney Owls were known for their basketball and softball/baseball teams with the entire community always showing up to support. “So many memories of sitting in cars and cheering on the team! Yes, there were bleachers, but sitting in cars listening to the latest Elvis on the radio and honking when someone scored or was struck out was so much more fun! Oney Owls, State champs 1962!” said Wilma Fullerton.

One of Oney School’s most influential figures was James L. Didier, Superintendent of the school from 1942-1960. Pouring his heart and soul into making and keeping a great school system for the rural community. His resignation notice was met with many sad emotions from patrons of the school. Mr. Didier said he was resigning to devote his full time to his farm that was in the area and that he planned on staying in the area, his predecessor was B.W. Randquist. Alot of land in Oney was located on federally affected land eligible for payments from the Department of Health Education and Welfare under Public Law 874. The law provided financial assistance to schools with students living on non-taxable Native American land, military installations, and Bureau of Reclamation projects.

Brick School Buiding Date Unknown Provided Unknown

In March of 1994 the heartbreaking announcement came, Oney School would be closing. The closure was due to declining enrollment as the town itself was slowly losing population. The Binger-Oney School Board had voted for the closure of the Oney site and complete annexation. “Oney was created by consolidation, and I guess maybe it died because of it. For those who might have helped drown it, congratulations. You can move on to your next project” said Jackie Pledger. After the consolidation was final and nobody was active in the buildings there was a plan to use the gym as a community building, but it never emerged. The property was auctioned off and went under private ownership. The original brick building and the metal building later used as the high school were both demolished. The floor of the gym ended up being sold to a club in Weatherford for their dance floor and the scoreboard was sold to a school in Mexico City. The curtain used for the stage located at the end of the gym was allegedly sold to Watonga Schools.

Article by AOK Photojournalist Emily Cowan.
Gallery Below


Hoke, Doug. [Photograph 2012.201.B0406.0149]photographFebruary 24, 1988; (https://gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc423890/accessed April 4, 2021), The Gateway to Oklahoma History, https://gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.

“11 Feb 1960, 1 – The Fort Cobb News at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/602672279/?terms=oney%20school&match=1.

“15 Feb 1962, 4 – Anadarko Daily News at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/631971399/?terms=oney%20school&match=1.

“27 Dec 1962, 1 – The Hydro Review at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/666442567/?terms=oney%20school&match=1.

“8 Mar 1994, 8 – The Country Connection at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/595417129/?terms=oney%20school&match=1.

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Emily Cowan

Emily was brought into the Abandoned OK Team in December of 2019. “I’m not gonna lie I fangirled a bit. My first published post I was ecstatic, I felt like I finally had the right audience for my work. The opportunities that came with it made me love the website even more. I remember my first interview with a couple at Waukomis Christian Church. They had bought and restored the 1897 church and insisted on keeping the original sanctuary despite being advised on moving it. We talked with them for at least a good 40 minutes about the church, the abandoned Waukomis Middle School beside it, and the towns other disappearing buildings. They even rang the bell for us that has sat in the bell-tower for the last 120 something years ago. We could tell they were just as passionate about preserving Oklahoma’s dwindling history as we were. When interviewing people and hearing the first-hand stories and recollections of a place and seeing how a person connects to a building, it forms a connection between not only you and that person but yourself and that building.”

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Lili Sambrano
Lili Sambrano
5 months ago

how do you get to this place

Brenda McPherson Lookabaugh
Brenda McPherson Lookabaugh
Reply to  Lili Sambrano
6 days ago

Albert on the Oklahoma map

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