Page Woodson

200
City/Town:
Location Class:
Year Built: 1910 | Year Abandoned: 1994
Historic Designation: African American Heritage Site
Status: Restored (2017)
Photojournalist: AbandonedOK TeamMichael Schwarz

1910 Lowell Elementary

Lowell School

Originally built as the Lowell School in 1910, this date was engraved above the west entrance. It quickly grew in enrollment Students were held to a standard of morality and hygiene and teachers cared about keeping students on track. Some teachers even taking polls of which students brushed their teeth and telling them if they didn’t they would lose their social class cast. The Oklahoma City Times 01 Nov 1922, reported “When a boy plays truant, he usually gets into trouble and the police officers get him. He goes up before the judge and then reform school. It was such a case as this last year in Lowell School, that took Mrs. Anna Burks Love, principal, down to the courthouse to beg clemency of the judge. The lad was paroled to Mrs. Love.” Holmboe Construction was given a contract for an addition to Lowell School, work commenced on July 17, 1919, and the crew was given 120 days to complete it.

1933 Douglass High School

“The Pirates of Penzance,” by Gilbert & Sullivan, Operetta performed by Douglas High School students, Oklahoma City, OK, directed by Mrs. Zelia N. Breaux. Photo by G.E. Ginter, Oklahoma City, OK, c.1937.

Another addition of twenty-nine rooms, a pool, a gymnasium, auditorium and a stage was added onto Lowell as “Douglass High School” at a price of $195,000. A two-sided cornerstone was laid for the new building reading;

Let there be light
Laid by
The Most Worshipful
St. John Grand Lodge
of the State of Oklahoma


Inman E. Page
Principal of the Separate Schools
Advisory Committee
to the Board of Education
George R. Ragland Chairman
W.L. Vaughn / E.W. Perry
J.J. Dawson / L.C. Cleaves
J.J. Josephs / E. W. Caruthers
E.R. Richards / J.D. Nelson
A.D. 1933 / W.L. Haywood

Douglass High School Drum Corps, directed by Mrs. Zelia N. Breaux, Oklahoma City, OK. L to R: Front: 1-2. UNIDENTIFIED, 3. June Bennett, 4. UNIDENTIFIED, 5. Vivian Moon, 2nd Step: 3. Murdire Morrow, 6. Barbara, 3rd Row: 2. Thelma Jones, Back Row: 3. Burleigh, c.1946. Photo by Pendley, Oklahoma City, OK.

The name was officially changed to just Douglass High School, a separate school for the community of Oklahoma City. Unlike any other separate school in the area, the Douglass High School Trojans were the most elite programs, best facility, and most reputable students and staff. Monumental in size and pride the school stood out in the Black community rather than be hidden amongst industrial buildings like previous schools that bore the same name. The school is significant today as it is the oldest school still in existence in Oklahoma City, used for the purpose of segregating African American students from white students. In 1955, Douglass High School was renamed to F.D. Moon Middle School after its principal and it wasn’t long before it was renamed again in 1960 as Woodson School whose mascot was a wildcat. A tragedy occurred in the swimming pool in April of 1966 when a student tragically drowned. He was rushed to an ambulance by firemen and attendants.

1975 Page Woodson Fifth-Year Center

Woodson Wildcats play soccer during PE class ca. April 28, 1978

In 1975, the school was renamed Page Woodson not very different from its last name and operated as a  fifth-year center. Fifth-year centers were experimented with in Oklahoma City and most failed due to dispersion of population and desegregation, there weren’t enough students to fill the giant schools Columbus Elementary is another example of this. One year before closing the school implemented an acceleration center for students that were in danger of having to repeat the year. But the fact that it was a fifth-year center proved to be the reason for Page Woodson’s closing in 1994. The community refused to give up on the more than a century old school, even though fires had been set throughout the years of its abandonment. In 2015, two fires were intentionally set and thankfully firefighters were able to arrive on the scene early enough to put it out without significant damage.

But because of the fires and amount of decay from years of abandonment, renovation costs were estimated to be around $5 million, something the community wouldn’t be able to raise by themselves. With the help of Jason Bradshaw who bought the school and of Gina Sofola, liaison for the project development was underway to make it affordable housing. 

Page Woodson / Douglass High School – Restored! – Micro-Doc

– Produced by Michael Schwarz (Prairie Nation Creative, LLC)

https://www.pagewoodsonokc.com/

 

Gallery Below




Bibliography

“1 Nov 1922, 6 – The Oklahoma City Times at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/612428181/?terms=Lowell%2Bschool.

“12 Jul 1919, Page 1 – The Oklahoma City Times at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/174847427/?terms=lowell%2Bschool%2Baddition.

“14 Mar 1999, 498 – The Daily Oklahoman at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/454391528/?terms=page%2Bwoodson%2Bschool.

“19 Jul 1993, 64 – The Daily Oklahoman at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/453603392/?terms=page%2Bwoodson%2Bschool.

“21 Sep 1933, 1 – The Oklahoma News at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/594902459/?terms=lowell%2Bschool%2Baddition.

“30 Jun 1910, 8 – The Daily Oklahoman at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/441316053/?terms=Lowell%2Bschool.

“[Photograph 2012.201.B0975.0202].” The Gateway to Oklahoma History, 28 Apr. 1978, gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc1292847/?q=page%20woodson.

“History.” Affordable Modern Apartments | Page Woodson Apartments, www.pagewoodsonokc.com/history.

 

 

 

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Mike T.
Mike T.
11 years ago

This is worth reading! I went through 5th grade here in 1985-86. The school was bright, clean and well cared for back then. I haven't seen it since the last day of school in June '86. Never saw the pool either, but I remember the basemet was full of CD-Civil Defense 55 gallon water drums and c-ration boxes. A lot of Cold War history in that bldg. The auditorium was always really hot or really cold. Poor insulation, plaster and steam radiator heating. Remember kids were sniffling and sneezing when it was cold and sweating and cranky when it was… Read more »

AbandonedOK Team
Reply to  Mike T.
11 years ago

incredible stories Mike! This is what its all about! Thank you for sharing Mike!

Dara
Dara
Reply to  Mike T.
10 years ago

Have you not tried to go back in there? Does it not interest you at all??

Just
Just
Reply to  Mike T.
6 years ago

Where is the Cold War stuff located worth lots of money
🙂

angie
angie
12 years ago

i went to this school when i was in the 5th grade. how come no one has done the story on it being haunted? creepy yeah i would say so! when i was there crazy stuff happen on the bottom floor and behind the gym where the pool is someone should call ghost hunters!

lacey
lacey
Reply to  angie
11 years ago

my sister is there right now do you know why it is haunted like what happen??

Amanda Dayy
6 months ago

The worst year of my life was spent here. I think 1989. I do remember trying to go downstairs in maybe the basement during gym class.

Roy Barrett
7 years ago

I went to fifth grade at here in 1988-1989 when it was Page-Woodson Fifth Year Center. I have lots of fond memories of this post-integration school as they bussed us as a vestige of racial segregation/integration of the 1970s where the rough part of my childhood in Government housing (Will Rogers Courts) taught me many life lessons and integrated us from feeder schools all over the inner-city and included bussing via the new I-235 Centennial and occasionally via the boarded up Bricktown district that nobody thought would ever take off. That "haunted" auditorium I remember as a 9-10 year old… Read more »

Mark Bowen
Mark Bowen
1 month ago

Very cool! I’m so glad you were able to save and repurpose this building. I taught orchestra there from 83 to 88 when it was Page Woodson. I remember one day when Mohammad Ali dropped by for an unplanned visit with the kids. Amazing. He was unable to speak at the time due to his Parkinson’s but he had a guy there to speak for him. At the end of the presentation, he handed out copies of the Koran to anyone who wanted one. I’m not sure if the kids recognized at that time the significance of the day but… Read more »

Britany
Britany
4 years ago

do you know what this is by? I would love to drive by and see it

donita
donita
4 years ago

they are gonna regret it. disrupting the spirits in that building is not safe at all.

Ihh
Ihh
Reply to  donita
4 years ago

What do you mean spirits? Who died there?

Kara
Kara
5 years ago

Does anyone know who owns this? I am looking to open a school and would like to bring the place back to life. Thanks.

sarah bashaw
sarah bashaw
Reply to  Kara
5 years ago

It is being renovated to become affordable apartments and community space.

Billy D.
Billy D.
5 years ago

has anyone heard of the purple church

itsmzkokoa
itsmzkokoa
Reply to  Billy D.
5 years ago

yes..its not safe to go out there…:o

itsmzkokoa
itsmzkokoa
Reply to  Billy D.
5 years ago

ne 63rd and douglas

ALM
ALM
Reply to  Billy D.
4 years ago

What is the purple church? Never heard of it?

Billy D.
Billy D.
5 years ago

i have seen it but dont remember the street nw 13th i think

Sterling N.
Sterling N.
Reply to  Billy D.
5 years ago

In the 600 block of N High Ave, between NE 5th and 6th streets

donita
donita
Reply to  Sterling N.
4 years ago

paranormal situations is what I had to deal with.

donita
donita
Reply to  Billy D.
4 years ago

ne 5th and stonewall….I have been there at least 3 times…wont do it again ever. that experience was just way too much. had situations at home after the third second trip. the third time I just stayed outside.

Jesse
Jesse
5 years ago

You can't get in anymore it's fenced and all the entrances and first level windows are completely boarded up. My friends and I went once and broke in using a crowbar and had cut the fence. We went back the next weekend to show a friend who wasn't there the first time and they had completely replaced the cut fence and the window that we pried open was boarded back up all within less than a week. Lol. But it was pretty cool in there though

Robert
Robert
Reply to  Jesse
5 years ago

That is because it's an active construction site – the school is being converted to rent-controlled apartments for the surrounding community.

olivia
olivia
5 years ago

i love stuff like this and i have been to this building before and it is very creepy on the inside a lot of bad vibes were felt that night

Tonika
Tonika
5 years ago

Dogulass high school is spelled incorrectly in this article. The newer school opened in 1957 not 1969.

Tonika
Tonika
Reply to  Tonika
5 years ago

Douglass!

Henry Kissenger
Henry Kissenger
Reply to  Tonika
4 years ago

You don't know what the hell you're talking about. Just shut-up.

Melody
Melody
5 years ago

Why would a community abandon such a beautiful biulding. Surely the cost to renovate would have been cheaper than an entirely new school.

@Misery.Cloud
@Misery.Cloud
Reply to  Melody
5 years ago

It's being renovated to be a dorm for OU medical students I think.

olivia
olivia
Reply to  @Misery.Cloud
5 years ago

the building is still the same as the photos to this day

Roy Barrett
6 years ago

As an American I condemn this message

Thomas
Thomas
6 years ago

Never have been a ghost hunter, but me being the senior dumbass I am decided it would be a great adventure with my friends…. The second you go inside the hair on your neck stands straight up, trash is absolutely everywhere, the auditorium is absolutely chilling you can feel a strong presence of hatred and anger no matter who you are. We went during the afternokn and heard a piano playing in the lower level. Just talking about it gives me chills seriously, will never, ever make an appearance here ever again.

Britton
Britton
6 years ago

I went here last night…….. I'm not a big believer in spirits or ghosts but last night….. I expierenced something like neve before… Me & a group of about 8 friends which "I know bad idea" we went through a window didn't hear anything until we got to the gym.. We were all smoking in the middle & one of my friends that does not smoke…. So he's NOT high . Walked over to the stairs that led to the pool.. He heard a loud scream & ran to us & almost started crying telling us we have to leave… Read more »

donita
donita
Reply to  Britton
5 years ago

that happened to some of my friends….i truly believe you!

Britton
Britton
6 years ago

I went here last night…….. I'm not a big believer in spirits or ghosts but last night….. I expierenced something like neve before… Me & a group of about 8 friends which "I know bad idea" we went through a window didn't hear anything until we got to the gym.. We were all smoking in the middle & one of my friends that does not smoke…. So he's NOT high . Walked over to the stairs that led to the pool.. He heard a loud scream & ran to us & almost started crying telling us we have to leave… Read more »

Trisha Welch
7 years ago

Good News for the Old Place? http://newsok.com/two-developers-vie-to-redevelop… and in case the link quits working Here's the article – by Brianna Bailey Published: September 17, 2014 The Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority on Wednesday heard two competing proposals to redevelop housing on Urban Renewal land around the historic Page Woodson school on Oklahoma City’s northeast side. Below is the Miller-Valentine Group’s proposal. Local developer Ron Bradshaw is competing against Cincinnati-based national developer Miller-Valentine Group to redevelop affordable housing in an area known as the John F. Kennedy neighborhood. Bradshaw, who is leading the group New Page LLC’s proposal for the area,… Read more »

trackback
7 years ago

[…] Here is some of the backstory to this building. […]

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