|City/Town: • Bavaria|
|Location Class: • School|
|Built: • 1925 | Abandoned: • 1969|
|Status: • Abandoned|
|Photojournalist: • June Osborne, Melissa Dawn|
The small town of Bavaria sounds like something you would run across in Germany rather than Kansas. That’s because its name originates from Germany. Once a bustling town it boasted a brand new three-story brick building in 1925. When you look up the Bavaria School online you will find The Bavaria Tigers were proud of their small town and let it make no difference to the pride and work they put into schoolwork and school activities. They had a basketball team, glee club, cracksquad and more.
In the early years of the 1950s, Bavaria High School athletics took quite a jarring hit from the state government. According to a ruling youth boys coming into Bavaria High School from St. Francis Boys Home were denied the ability to join their athletics teams until they had been a resident of the home for 18 weeks. While this might not seem like a long time this is a whole semester and most of the time a whole season, leaving the athletics teams vulnerable from moving up in the ranks during their seasons.
The board of directors for the school felt that the boys should be allowed as soon as they entered into the St. Francis Home. But the transfer rule in the constitution and by-laws of the Kansas State High School Activities Assoc. stated the following:
” No pupil who transfers from one high school to another, except after the completion of the course of a high school which does not offer a full 4-year high school course, shall be eligible to compete on a high school team until after he has been in attendance for 18 weeks unless the parents of such pupil or guardian in case neither parent is living actually change their residence and move in the vicinity of the school to which the pupil transfers where a bonified and permanent home is established.”
In the 1940s an exception was written to that rule for the St. Johns Military school. This ruling had a huge impact on St. Johns to move forward into stronger athletic teams. The exception is as follows:
“Students who transfer to private boarding schools, all of whose students reside on the campus may become eligible in a sport immediately upon enrolling as far as the transfer rule is concerned. Provided they have not participated in that particular sport prior to changing schools and providing further that a record of all transfer students be filed each year with the commissioner.”
St. Francis Boys Home directors felt as though the state board could reinterpret the rule to include St. Francis youth in the exception even though they would attend Bavaria High School. Bavaria desperately needed the athletes in order to keep their basketball league in contending with the other schools.
It didn’t seem like this rule went away into the mid-1950s given that a newspaper article from 1954 stated Bavaria’s High School basketball team was growing by four of boys that were residents of the St. Francis Boy’s Home and waited their 18-week ban period to join.
Throughout the 1950-60s rural one-room and smaller town high schools faced great threats of dissipating. Due to the rise in the consolidation of school districts and changes in requirements for funding it was nearly impossible to fight the state legislation coming in. But Bavaria and the surrounding towns weren’t going down without a fight. Principal Charles E. Blodgett of Bavaria had met with numerous other small town high schools to create the Kansas Smaller High School Assoc. The purpose of the association was to give these smaller schools a voice when proposed legislation and state aid was talked about. They believed they were at a disadvantage to bigger schools and not being given fair consideration for aid, they were right.
Come the summer of 1957 patrons of the Bavaria Rural High School District voted to close the high school. The reasoning being cited at decreased enrollment and “unrest” within the district. It would not reopen the fall of 1957 and most students would transfer to Salina schools. The Bavaria Grade School would take over the building moving out of their ~1910 wooden building, it was then demolished in 1910. But it wouldn’t be long before that too would close. A merger meeting was held in 1966 but it seemed as though the original intentions of the district were to stay independent from the Salina UD-305. But it was just a year later that the district accepted consolidation and chose to close their school.
For a year after the closure of the grade school operations, the building was used as an attendance center but officially was abandoned after those operations became centralized at Brookville and Happy Corner. The district tried to sell the building that year but delayed action while former students made attempts to gather financing for maintenance. So the building was sold at auction to a local man who owned a store and used the building for storage. It has since sat empty and neglected, mother nature slowly creeping in over the last 40 years. Pictured here is a newspaper photo of the school in 1994 showing the school from the outside in nearly the same condition it is in today. I’m sure the inside of the building was in much better condition than it is pictured below.
Gallery Below of Bavaria School
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Thank you for the photos and history. The pictures are heart wrenching. I went to grade school there from first grade in 1959 through 8 th grade in 1967. I have many found memories from that time. My family lived just a little west and south of there and I drove by it every time i visited them after I moved away. It is unfortunate that it wasn’t kept up and put to a use that would benefit the community.
I was under the impression someone owned that building… they never did anything with it but I did not think it was just sitting there without an ownership