Bushong Rural High School

Location Class:
Year Built: 1918 | Year Abandoned: 1978
Status: Abandoned
Photojournalist: Darrell Powers

The journey to erect this school didn’t come swiftly in fact the exact opposite. A dispute over the legality of the Bushong Rural High School which for a few years had housed students in different buildings throughout town. The Rural High School was organized in 1915 and since then the town and surrounding towns argued the necessity that the Bushong community needed and could afford such a school. In a fight to stay organized many steps were taken to meet the State Departments’ qualifications for accredited schools including sufficient teaching force, school program, course of study, and library and laboratory equipment. This was well received by the State Department but the inspector insisted that the district provide better quarters for the school and students in order to reach accreditation, when they advised this the State highly doubted Bushong would be able to or care to erect a building. At the time there were 168 votes against and 76 for erecting a new building.

In a continued fight to settle this a petition was sent around in the spring of 1917, the petition gained enough 183 signatures, enough that the county commissioners had to decide on whether or not to allow a vote to determine if the school district would continue or be disorganized. The special election was allegedly denied on the grounds that the school district had accumulated property since it was organized. But in a victory for the district, the plans for a new school were accepted and a contractor arrived in Bushong in Nov. 1917 to begin getting rock out for the new building.

Bushong High School ca 1920 North Lyon County Historical Museum

The Bushong High School was then erected in 1918 consisting of four rooms with later additions. The later addition came in 1926, a huge gym that was almost the size of just the classroom building itself. Construction started in 1925 with the community often encouraging the workmen because they were anxious to be able to play basketball in their new gymnasium. In 1948 the existing students in grades 1-8 were moved to the Bushong High School from the first two-story school building. In 1950 the building underwent a $16,000 remodeling which delayed the start of the school year until Sept. 11 that year.

Bushong High School Basketball Team ca. 1930-31 Provided by North Lyon County Historical Museum

Because of the loss of enrollment, in 1955 Bushong’s high school students consolidated with nearby Allen School which later consolidated with other nearby school districts to create the Northern Heights Unified School District in 1957. Grade school and elementary students continued attending in this building. In 1966, third and fourth graders from the surrounding towns all went to Bushong to attend school in this building creating the Consolidated Grade School District No. 6. Again due to declining enrollment the school finally closed in 1970, all elementary and grade school students were consolidated to Allen and Admire. That same year USD 251 put the building up for auction and the Mayor of Bushong, Walt Thomas purchased it for use a Civic Center.  The last mention of the Civic Center in newspapers was in 1978, this is presumably when the building was abandoned. The state of the building has deteriorated significantly, the gym has completely fallen in on itself and the classroom portion of the building is only a shell of the former education center it used to be.

(Left to right): Crystal LeVerne McMillan, Pearl Mae Lewis, Clara Edna Swarner, Blanche Evelyn Johnson, Floyd G. Basen, Helen Meta Marsh, Ira E. Kirkland, Mae Della Silfes, Ruth Hazel Johnson, Daniel E. Eckel, Inez Irene Spear, and C.H. Kutz – Professor Provided by Keith Jensen

Article by AKS Photojournalist Emily Cowan.

Gallery Below


“1 Sep 1950, Page 7 – The Emporia Gazette at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/10280440/?terms=bushong%20school&match=1.

“1 Sep 1966, Page 4 – The Emporia Gazette at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/12862677/?terms=bushong%20grade%20school&match=1.

“11 May 1917, 6 – The Northern Lyon County Journal at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/485022765/?terms=bushong%20rural%20high%20school%20new&match=1.

“11 Sep 1970, 1 – Council Grove Republican at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/345093237/?terms=bushong%20elementary%20school&match=1.

“15 Nov 1917, 1 – The Northern Lyon County Journal at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/485026414/?terms=bushong%20school%20new&match=1.

“17 Mar 1916, 4 – The Northern Lyon County Journal at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/485019293/?terms=bushong%20school%20new&match=1.

“2 Jul 1965, Page 4 – The Emporia Gazette at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/13174233/?terms=bushong%20school&match=1.

“27 Apr 1917, 5 – The Northern Lyon County Journal at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/485022540/?terms=bushong%20rural%20high%20school%20new&match=1.

“27 Jan 1954, 1 – Council Grove Republican at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/345335129/?terms=bushong%20school&match=1.

“30 Oct 1925, 3 – Council Grove Republican at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/343682848/?terms=bushong%20gym&match=1.

“7 Jul 1955, 1 – The Northern Lyon County Journal at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/485204137/?terms=bushong%20school&match=1.

“Bushong.” The North Lyon County Museum, 29 May 2017, nlchsmuseum.com/town-histories/bushong/.

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Ada Fox
Ada Fox
4 months ago

Too bad it couldn’t be saved

Bette Jo KIng
Bette Jo KIng
4 months ago

This is so sad that they couldn’t keep it for community functions

Chris Fleming
Chris Fleming
4 months ago

Great building so sad its in that shape

Don Miller
Don Miller
4 months ago

Really sad photos, the school was awesome in its finest days, just wreckage now

Regina Daniel
Regina Daniel
4 months ago

I was just here, neat town

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