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Colyer School

Colyer School

Location Class:
Built: 1879 | Abandoned: 1962
Status: Abandoned
Photojournalist: Raymond L. Stone
Colyer School
Colyer School District No. 42 ca.~1897

Colyer School District No. 42 was constructed in 1897 at the cost of $1000. This expenditure was exceeded by one hundred dollars due to the addition of a bell and tower. This additional $100 expense created quite a stir in the community. Some felt it should be paid for by the three school board members. To settle the disagreement, Frank Lutz one of the board members, removed the bell and tower and repaired the roof. The original bell remains on the property of the school and owner Phil Metsker. The schoolyard included a well dug in the early 1900’s and two hitching posts on the southeast corner. Originally the building only had one door, in the front of the building. It was discovered by the health department that the plans for a fire escape were not acceptable. Those plans were that the older students would open a window, where the teacher would place a wooden bench/stool. A second door at the southwest corner of the building was then added, as an emergency escape route.

The first term of school held here was that of 1897-98, with Kate C. Clark teaching 35 students. The school board consisted of James Ulrich, D. L. Burton and A. E. Metsker. Pupils for that year included: Goldie Burrton; Maude, Ernest, Ray and Mamie Clark; Fred, Jesse, May and Chester Ford; Melanie and John Gormont; Eva, Oscar and Mattie Lutz; Clay Murphy; Lula North; Leda and Charlie Oehrle; John Reed; Roy, Minnie George, Alice, and Ethie Shuler; Jesse, Maude and Merle Studebaker; Lizzie, Willie, John and Earl Thompson; Maud Ulrich; Annie, Birdie, Howard and Grover Van Kunkle.“My great-grandfather was on the first school board. My grandfather, dad, and I also attended school here, and now my wife and I own it,” said Phil Metsker. Phil’s father attended Colyer through eighth grade and Phil through three grades, until its closure. In spring of 1963, John P. Metsker bought the building at auction, it has remained in the Metsker family.
The schoolhouse was struck by lightning four years after construction causing $13.40 worth of damage that was then covered by the German Insurance Co. In 1923 Colyer School District No. 42 briefly closed for a week due to a sickness running rampant in the “neighborhood”. Families isolated themselves to avoid an outcome similar to the 1918 Spanish Influenza outbreak.
With an enrollment of 10 students & two teachers Betty Hoover and Belle Welter, the 1961-62 session was the last for Colyer School District No. 42. Making the decision to disorganize were Board Members Hugh Boyce, Marily Miller and Orlyn Vaughn. The district was disorganized and consolidated with Marion Springs District No. 101. But because the new Marion Springs building was not yet completed, the students were sent to the rural schools of Exceline and Central, until construction was finished.
Records of teachers and students are included below:
Sonora Metsker taught the 1898-99 term, with C. M. Laptad teaching the 1899-00 term. The first decade of the new century had the following teachers: Luella Barton, Artis Metsker, Sonora Metsker, Grace Creel, Pearl Metsker, Lola Flory, T. E. Vincent, and D. L. Burton. Members of the Board were: A. E. Metsker, A. G. Shaw, and D. L. Burton.
The next ten years were taught by: Lanora Preston, Laura watts, Ethel Kindred, and C. Fay Gorbutt, Board Members were: D. L. Burton, A. E. Metsker and B. H. Powell. Teaching the 1920’s were: Elizabeth Sturdy, Mildred Longanecker, Telitha Newton, Bessie Brown, and Mary Allen teaching 14 students for the session ending in 1930. Members of the Board were Frank Lutz, Otto Hack and Frank Scott. The decade of the 1930’s were taught by; Dorothy Cummings, Inez Herlan, Bessie Surles, Beatrice Clark, Dorothy Nuffer, Marzella Dwyer and Irene Rusking. Board members were Floyd Heffner, Olin Heffner and Otto Hack. The 1940’s were taught by: Goldie Carpenter and Arlene Flory. The school was then closed for five years with student being sent to nearby Lone Star (due to small enrollment). With an enrollment of 9 students, the school was re-opened in the autumn of 1949, with Nancy Wilcox teaching. The Board Members were John Metsker, Frank Lutz and Orlyn Vaughn. Teachers for the 1950’s were: Betha Gibler, Estella Tiejens and Betty Hoover. Lloyd Hoffman, Frank Lutz, Hugh Boyce and Orlyn Vaughn were the Board members.


“17 Jan 1923, Page 6 – Lawrence Daily Journal-World at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/59484823/?terms=colyer%2Bschool%2Bmarion.

“20 Aug 1902, Page 3 – Lawrence Daily World at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/60041042/?terms=colyer%2Bschool.

“4 Apr 1901, Page 3 – The Jeffersonian Gazette at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/67615530/?terms=colyer%2Bschool.

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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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