Old Prue School

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City/Town: Prue
Location Class: School
Year Built: 1940
Year Abandoned: 1961
Status: EndangeredBurned Down
Photojournalist: DW TaylorEmily Cowan

Second Prue School ~1912-1939

Prue Consolidated School ca. 1918 Provided by Carolyn Trogdon Sheats

The first record I could find of Prue Schools was an article from The Osage Journal, April 25, 1912, reporting of a tornado “The fine farmhouse of Henry Prue was unroofed and the barn completely demolished. The Prue School House and another house belonging to Mr. Prue were destroyed.” Luckily the School Board of Public Schools District No. 50, was already coordinating with contractors a month prior to the tornado about a new school. A two-story Carthage stone and brick school building was imaged for the Prue District by architect A.M. Holt, the contract would be awarded to the best bidder. The new school became known as Prue Consolidated School.

Students pose in front of Prue Consolidated School ca. 1938

Prue Consolidated School was composed of four districts, Prue, Pulara, Prairie View, and District 81. All kids were brought in using three school buses. The school had a gymnasium, five-room teacherage, and a bus barn where buses were kept and repaired. Students enjoyed a large playground with swings, an ocean-wave, and other equipment. The school offered a four-year high school course, home economics, Glee Club, and 4-H Club. Also offering a variety of athletics including basketball, and softball.

Prue School Bus, Bus Driver Willie Horton pictured left Provided by Estee Horton Eubanks

Within a decade the Prue Consolidated School had become overcrowded with students. Concerns over the education their children would be receiving led to some parents to consider petitioning some districts to leave the consolidation. At the time, in 1924, it was not in the interest of board officials to enlarge the Prue School to allow for expansion and relief of overcrowding, there were two teachers serving around 140 students.

“Old” Prue School 1940-1961

Finally, in 1940, the WPA approved a project for a new $40,000 school at Prue. A single-story, eight classroom building was constructed of local native sandstone. The current standing gymnasium was to be demolished and a new larger one built with the new school. The new gym would have bleachers, locker rooms, non-collapsible ceilings, steam heating system, electricity, and plumbing. To cut costs on the new school many materials were found locally, approximately 135,000 bricks, 444,000 feet of lumber, doors, and windows were salvaged from the old school and gym to repurpose in the new structure.

The nearby Lake Keystone & Dam would be the demise not only of the school but Prue as they knew it. With waters rising higher and higher there were threats of the water taking the town under. Plans to move the townsite commenced around 1957, with the families and community buying up lots. It would be moved approximately 4 miles northeast of its then present location. In 1959, the community hoped the government would make a settlement on the school so that a new one could be built at the new townsite. The federal government argued that the current school sat just above the highwater mark, cutting it close bringing floodwaters to the front gates surrounding it. The K-12 school served the community for twenty-one years, 102 students in its last year, closing up on May 12, 1961. The new school would be built on the new townsite and open the following year.

Fire 2020

On a fateful Saturday night, July 25, 2020, a fire engulfed the Old Prue School building destroying it. Watch the news story here.

Article by AOK Photojournalist Emily Cowan.

Gallery Below Including Before and After Fire Pictures




Bibliography

“10 May 1940, 7 – The Osage Journal and The Osage County News at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/659267106/?terms=school%2Bprue.

“22 Mar 1924, 1 – Pawhuska Journal-Capital at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/666396190/?terms=prue%2Bschool.

“23 Aug 1962, 6 – The Cleveland American at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/666170455/?terms=prue%2Bschool.

“25 May 1961, 12 – The Times at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/602556264/?terms=prue%2Bschool.

“25 May 1961, 2 – The Hominy News-Republican at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/666361232/?terms=prue%2Bschool%2Bclosed.

“29 Oct 1959, 1 – Sand Springs Leader at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/602557607/?terms=prue%2Bschool%2Bcloses.

“5 Apr 1938, 3 – The Hominy Journal at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/659233645/?terms=prue%2Bschool.

“7 Mar 1912, Page 2 – The Morning Tulsa Daily World at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/71225155/?terms=prue%2Bschool%2Bconstruction.

Griffin, David. “Firefighters Put Out Old Prue School Building After Hours-Long Battle.” News On 6 – NewsOn6.com – Tulsa, OK – News, Weather, Video and Sports, 26 July 2020, www.newson6.com/story/5f1df03da717d00d80c4a424/firefighters-put-out-old-prue-school-building-after-hourslong-battle-.

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