|City/Town: • Stratford|
|Location Class: • Church • School|
|Built: • 1938 | Abandoned: • 1970s|
|Status: • Abandoned • Endangered|
|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.
“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.
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