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Prairie Grove School/Church

City/Town:
Location Class:
Built: 1938 | Abandoned: 1970s
Status: AbandonedEndangered
Photojournalist: Eric Price

Located just West of Stratford lies a dilapidated building in a field, during the summer its vibrant red bricks clash beautifully with the green foliage that engulfs it. During the winter months, it is still a vibrant building on a desolate field. This was the Prairie Grove School, a WPA project approved in May of 1938. This new brick facility would be built with $5,300 provided by the WPA and $2,563 provided by sponsors and the school board.

A small country school, in addition to classes, also held community events such as pie suppers, fruit sales, Thanksgiving & Christmas suppers, and more. “I went to school here when we lived in the country, as did my brothers. I love that old building, it holds a lot of memories for me,” said former student Freeda Goodson. She describes the interior of the school as having a stage at the back of the building, a cloakroom, and a partition that would raise or lower as needed to separate the two rooms. A water fountain located near the back, outdoor toilets, and a basketball court outside.

In 1953 the Prairie Grove School was experiencing decreased enrollment and was consolidated with Stratford. All hope was not lost for the building after the schools’ closure though. It then became the Prairie Grove Church, it was a small congregation and a building that became a central meeting place for the community. At some point during its history, the building seemed to have braced a strong storm that knocked out the back wall and was repaired with different bricks. The church continued on in the community until the early 1970s when attendance dwindled to almost nothing, it closed and became abandoned. Over the last fifty years, the once beautiful brick building has been reduced to almost nothing but rubble.

Article by AOK Photojournalist Emily Cowan.

Gallery Below




Bibliography

“21 Nov 1957, 3 – The Stratford Star at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/595424555/?terms=prairie%20grove%20church&match=1.

“26 May 1938, 1 – Pauls Valley Democrat at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/595458587/?terms=prairie%20grove%20school&match=1.

“27 Jan 1938, 3 – Pauls Valley Democrat at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/595457494/?terms=%22prairie%20grove%20school%22%20construction&match=1.

“Facebook.” Facebook – Log In or Sign Up, www.facebook.com/groups/forgottenoklahoma/permalink/1622070631391430/.

“Facebook.” Facebook – Log In or Sign Up, www.facebook.com/groups/forgottenoklahoma/permalink/2719536621644820/.

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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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Jeffery Paul Porter
Jeffery Paul Porter
1 month ago

Enjoyed story best holiday wishes

Jeffery Paul Porter
Jeffery Paul Porter
1 month ago

Enjoyed story

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