Bavaria Highschool 1925

Sometime in February of 2010 I came across a small unincorporated town in central Kansas with a highschool building dating back to 1925.

I remember it being a bone chilly day when I came into town.The sky was bleak and uninteresting; and not a single person but myself seemed to be outside or maybe even in town itself. I had knocked on the doors of a few houses with the hopes of learning something about the history of this school, but no one answered. I sort of suspect that a few had ignored me and watched me from behind the curtains.

The architecture of the school was the standard for this era of American high schools and my guess is that this little village was probably the largest of little unincorporated villages within several miles and therefore became the logical choice for a more central school that could educate a growing population. My other guess is that eventually, like many other rural communities across the country, the school most likely was closed sometime between the 1960′s and 1970′s for consolidation with an even larger school in a larger nearby town. As modes of public transportation improved and the American population both swelled and shifted from rural isolation toward more city centered locations – due in part to economic and cultural changes – it became financially necessary for midsize rural towns to once again combine their resources with an even larger and more modern school buildings in larger towns that had the ability to serve to a wider territory.

I wanted to and it was possible, though unsafe, but I didn’t climb into the school at this time; nor have I had the chance or luck of returning to reshoot and explore the area further.

Peering into the interior through a broken window I could see inside was loaded with what appeared to be several decades worth of unwanted and broken property from possibly the entire town. Dusty tables, broken lamps, rusty bicycles, deflated basketballs and much more were all in view. There was barely any space to comfortably stand let alone walk around and I suspect that my presence in the little village was seen as intrusive; I don’t know if this was an accurate vibe or just my imagination. From what I could see, beyond the junk, was a large open space that was very likely a gymnasium and/or multipurpose room serving also as the cafeteria and assembly hall. I remember my old elementary school, that was also once a the high school with separate entrances labeled for boys and girls, having a similar layout and the room functioning as several rooms throughout the day.

I am still devising a plan to return and take better photographs of this high school – please don’t judge me on these two – and of several other nearby buildings on my list; and spending more time in the region talking with locals, hopefully a less chilly atmosphere. I currently have a couple of regional contacts and hopefully more will come.

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6 responses to “Bavaria Highschool 1925

  • Taton Tubbs

    hey there. I have been to this school, just recently and was brave enough to venture inside. I have several photos up on my Flickr page. http://www.flickr.com/photos/op79/ Feel free to visit if you like. The place was in pretty terrible shape.

  • Taton Tubbs

    I’m always on the lookout for abondoned houses, schools, etc..to shoot at, in and around. There is a crumbling old house in between Lindsborg and Marquette KS that I recently discovered as well. I have several others in the area in my sights. Its cool to find someone else who shares this same interest. Keep up the good work!

    • palechickstudios

      Same here. I have many pages of a notebook and sketchpad of locations to shoot. There are several places in Kansas along Hwy 156 and a couple on Hwy 140. Not to far from Bavaria. I have photographed a few of them and hope to return to reshoot before I post anything. check them out if your in the area!

  • Renee

    I came across your story looking up more abandoned places to vist. Just last night three of my friends and I decided to see the school for ourselves. We went around 10PM and we were all daring enough to go inside. In the front of the building there are a few windows that are broken out and we climbed through there. Where we climbed in there was a stairway in front of us that goes straight down to the generator room which also leads to another room or two (didn’t get a good look…friend was holding me back and freaking out). From the window we climbed through there was

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