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longfellow school

Longfellow Grade School

Location Class:
Built: 1955 | Abandoned: 2004
Status: Abandoned
Photojournalist: Darrell Powers

The long-neglected and vandalized Longfellow Grade School was constructed in 1955 to replace the former Longfellow School that sat on the same property. The new school opened for classes after the winter break with a few things still needing to be wrapped up with construction before the building was fully complete. Within just a few months after its official completion, the old building was torn down leaving decades of former Longfellow students devasted and those incoming to only know the new building.

Longfellow was built during the same time period as Edgewood, Garfield, and Whittier. Allegedly all were built due to the New Deal. All four schools resembled each other with similar construction and layouts. All were Elementary/Grade Schools for the City of Coffeyville. But having four elementary schools for a town with a population of just under ten thousand was found to be unnecessary and very costly in the early 2000s. A former committee member for USD #445 had a hand in the decision-making when all the schools closed in 2004-2005. She noted the maintenance costs per building, which was over a million dollars a year, as the biggest driver of their decision to close the schools.
longfellow school
Longfellow School 1956 6th Grade Class Credit: Unknown

The decision was made to have one school and the savings in maintenance costs should offset the cost. This pitch given to the community wasn’t well-received, no one wanted to give up their neighborhood schools. But unfortunately, they were in between a rock and a hard place because the budgets wouldn’t allow all the schools to stay open regardless. In recent years it seems an entity by the name of  Tree of Life Soul Winning Church Ministry Inc has owned the property but it is not clear why they abandoned it. As of 2019 the land and buildings were appraised at $41,930. It continues to get in worse shape as those neglect and vandalize the building.

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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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Edward T Furlong
Edward T Furlong
1 month ago

Would never have known this place existed had I not been diverted/detoured due to Hwy 169 being closed for road work at the RR tracks. It proved a curiosity and on putting up in Nowata I looked it up. Very sad. Having been born in 57 myself and proving a rolling stone for many a year, I know well that lives were launched in many a place like this. Too bad it was budgeted out of existence. There are always plenty of lives to be launched in cozy schools and they’d be richer for it.

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