Old Butner School Campus (Two Bldgs) – Cromwell (Vic)

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Address:  Vicinity of Cromwell, Oklahoma 040, Seminole County 133; NW 1/4, Sec. 16,T9N, R8E  County: Seminole
Started:   Completed:  1938

Current Usage:

Description:

There are two WPA-built structures on the Old Butner School grounds: a teacherage/bus garage and a shop. The teacherage/bus garage is a two-story, rectangular (91′ x 36′) structure with the garage below and teacherage above. It is constructed from untooled native sandstone laid in random fashion. The building has a gable roof, and external stairways lead to second story entries that are covered by gabled porch roofs supported by pedistals and wood shafts. Wood sash windows rest between pre-formed concrete lintels and cut stone sills. Seven garage doors on the lower level have continuous lintels and jambs of poured concrete. The doors have been enclosed with cinder blocks and covered with an awning of Spanish tile Rather than compromise the architectural integrity of the structure, the alterations constitute a remarkable example of adaptive re-use of the original facility.
The shop is located about 32 feet south of the teacherage/garage. It is built from untooled sandstone with random rubble masonry. It has a gable roof. The garage door has a concrete lintel, and the windows have cut stone sills. A single door entry is on the south and is covered with a small porch roof supported by brackets. Windows have been filled with wood inserts, but the integrity of the structure has not been compromised.
The town of Butner sits on top of one of the largest oil fields ever found in Oklahoma prior to 1940. The area boomed during the 1920s. The 1930s, however, brought economic depression, leaving many men unemployed when the oil fields shut down. The construction of the teacherage/garage and shop provided jobs for many of these unemployed workers. This allowed them to have the satisfaction of knowing that they were earning their living and saved them from the disgrace of the relief lines. Architecturally the buildings, especially the teacherage/garage may be one of the kind as a WPA project. Moreover, two story structures in non-urban settings are almost as rare. Within the community itself the structures are also notable in terms of materials and workmanship. The buildings, moreover, enhanced the ability of the district to provide quality education by providing living space for hard to recruit teachers and facilities for inaugurating a modern curriculum (vocational education).

VERBAL BOUNDARY DESCRIPTION: Go five and one half miles south of Cromwell on State highway 56 and 3/4 mile west to property, it begins at the NE corner of the NE 1/4 of the NW 1/4 of the NW 1/4 of Sec. 16, T9N, R8E, and running south 250 feet, west 175 feet, north 250 feet and east 175 feet

Sources:

  1. Oklahoma Landmarks Inventory Nomination

Supported Documents:

  1. WPA Properties Seminole County – Old Butner School Campus

Photos: