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Chamness School

Chamness School

Location Class:
Built: 1867 | Abandoned: 1959
Status: AbandonedEndangered
Photojournalist: Mike Torrans
Chamness School
Chamness School ca. unknown

When it was built in 1867-68 it was actually known as the Welsh School. The Welsh school began to serve the community after students had been attending a subscription school in the log church that served residents of the area. In desperate need of a building, the land was donated by the Chamness family to build the small stone schoolhouse was built. Under one condition, that when the land was no longer needed/used as a school it would be returned to the family. Along with the forty-two students, the congregation followed and worshipped in the new schoolhouse.

By the time 1871 had rolled around the congregation had started on a new church building and in August 1872 the group was officially incorporated as a congressional church. Deeming themselves the Sardis Church, membership quickly grew in the small subdivision having 62 members just three months after.

In the early 1900s, measles was a prominent illness running rampant and Chamness School was closed for a few days as a result in January 1904 giving its nineteen students a small vacation. For many years the small town Chamness Elementary School was the site of 4-H Club meetings, ice cream suppers, town meetings, and other community events.

In 1951 the Chamness Elementary School became badly damaged by a flood that tore through the rural community. Taxpayers of District 24. met with Superintendent Hazel Miller to discuss the $1,000 damages and how the money would be raised to fix them. The extent of the damage threatened the school with not being able to open in time for the upcoming school year. Patrons had to discuss options on repairing the damage, building a new school on higher ground, or moving entirely and building a new school, leaving the unmoveable stone school behind. Funds were given to fix the building and the students stayed.

While School District 24. reported the lowest cost of a functioning one-room schoolhouse in the county that year with $123.59 per pupil with an average of 16.6 pupils in attendance daily. Attendance was small in retrospect to other schools but large for a one-teacher schoolhouse, boasting an enrollment of 25 in 1958. But due to the changing times it was no longer feasible to have a one-room schoolhouse taking up funds, this was a time of consolidating and providing bigger schools for students. It was in 1959 that the Chamness Elementary School finally closed its doors and said goodbye to its students.

A year after its closure on October 4th, 1960 at 1:00 p.m. the Chamness Schoolhouse, its propane heating plant, and its outbuildings would be sold in a public auction. Marking the end of a century-old era with the building. The building sold to Thomas G. Suddock and the deed was transferred over by Mr. and Mrs. Merlin L. Chamness, Jennie Chamness, and Mr. and Mrs. Georgette F.C. Uushalio.


“1 Oct 1960, Page 11 – The Emporia Gazette at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/10251345/?terms=chamness%20school&match=1.

“15 Aug 1951, Page 5 – The Emporia Gazette at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/10288936/?terms=chamness%20school&match=1.

“20 Nov 1947, Page 1 – The Emporia Weekly Gazette at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/3699797/?terms=chamness%20school&match=1.

“23 Jul 1941, Page 3 – The Emporia Gazette at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/12744826/?terms=chamness%20school&match=1.

“27 Sep 1961, Page 11 – The Emporia Gazette at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/10196023/?terms=chamness%20school&match=1.

“28 Jan 1904, 1 – The Emporia Weekly Gazette at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/381914174/?terms=chamness%20school&match=1.

“30 Aug 1951, Page 4 – The Emporia Weekly Gazette at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/2454161/?terms=chamness%20school&match=1.

“9 Aug 1951, Page 1 – The Emporia Gazette at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/10638967/?terms=chamness%20school&match=1.

“9 Sep 1958, Page 7 – The Emporia Gazette at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/10277904/?terms=chamness%20school&match=1.

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Emily Cowan

Emily is a two-time published author of "Abandoned Oklahoma: Vanishing History of the Sooner State" and "Abandoned Topeka: Psychiatric Capital of the World". With over two hundred published articles on our websites. Exploring since 2018 every aspect of this has become a passion for her. From educating, fighting to preserve, writing, and learning about history there is nothing she would rather do.

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