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Check out 12 of Oklahoma's beautifully creepy abandoned places

by Richard Hall Modified: May 9, 2013 at 2:50 pm •  Published: May 9, 2013

Beautiful and creepy aren’t two words one typically puts together when describing something, let alone abandoned places in Oklahoma. But that’s exactly what the following 12 abandoned places are: beautiful and creepy. They’re also full of history, and thanks to the hard work done by the team at Abandoned Oklahoma, we’re able to see these places before it’s too late.

For more photos of these places, check out the gallery to the right of the article. All photos by the Abandoned Oklahoma team.


12. Riviera Drive-In, Oklahoma City

The first thing you'll notice? Those concession prices. #PartyLikeIts1999.
The first thing you'll notice? Those concession prices. #PartyLikeIts1999.

Kids these days, right? They have their fancy digital projection theaters, surround sound, air conditioning and reclining seats. Heck, many of these kids don’t even know what a drive-in theater is, and even fewer have ever been to one.

Despite its temperamental weather patterns, Oklahoma once had a healthy number of drive-ins throughout the state. But it was that temperamental weather that forced the Riviera Drive-In to shut down in 1999, after winds knocked the screen over.

Now, I didn’t move to Oklahoma until late 1999 so I never had the pleasure of visiting the Riviera, but from what I’ve been told by friends and coworkers, the Riviera used to be a gem. Most drive-ins are, since they offer a kind of weird nostalgia and a unique movie-going experience. I’m sure the Riviera was no different in its heyday.


11. The town of Reed, Okla.

The cross might be warding off something... But what? DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNNN!
The cross might be warding off something... But what? DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNNN!

Reed, Okla., is located in southwest Oklahoma, in Greer County. According to Wikipedia, Reed is a small unincorporated community located along State Highway 9. The post office opened September 16, 1892, and was said to have been named for the first postmaster, John Reed Graham.

From the looks of it, Reed was abandoned relatively recently, within the last several decades, judging by some of the things in the photos.


10. Gandini’s Circus, Edmond

Just when you thought it was safe to venture into Edmond...
Just when you thought it was safe to venture into Edmond...

Edmond, Okla., is mostly known for the University of Central Oklahoma, parking lots remarkably free of cigarette butts and a household median income of about $70,000.

But, did you know, if you drive far enough down Kelly Avenue, you’ll eventually run across a plot of land that houses an abandoned circus called Gandini’s Circus? Apparently, it’s also haunted, but I haven’t had the time to run out there and check for myself (coughcoughI’mawusscoughcough).

Eerie is definitely the word to describe this place. Dilapidated buildings. Mangled metal. Debris galore. Circuses in and of themselves are creepy enough, but traipsing around an abandoned circus site… It sends shivers down my spine.

Still, the images taken by the Abandoned Oklahoma team share a story of days gone bye. And, apparently, not many Edmondites I know even know this place exists, even the older folks.


9. Evans Cushing Industry, Cushing

Hmm. I've been needing a new office chair.
Hmm. I've been needing a new office chair.

Evans Cushing Industry lasted less than a couple decades in Cushing, Okla., as the company closed in 1998 after it was determined the smoke the plant created was a significant health hazard to the community.

The buildings were originally the home to Dalton Precision, which was a steel foundry that also supposedly caused damage to the town when the steel dust they produced went flying through the air. According to a few people, the dust would land on cars around town and ruin their paint jobs.

I’ve not been able to confirm it, but rumor is this site no longer exists, as it was torn down some time in the last couple of years.


8. Concho Indian School, Concho

"A fine glass vase goes from treasure to trash, the moment it is broken. Fortunately, something else happens to you and me. Pick up your pieces. Then, help me gather mine." ― Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration
"A fine glass vase goes from treasure to trash, the moment it is broken. Fortunately, something else happens to you and me. Pick up your pieces. Then, help me gather mine." ― Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

The Concho Indian School has a rich and interesting history and, after closing its doors due to inadequate funding in the early 1980s, sits quietly in Concho, Okla., deteriorating.

There are rumors this building is haunted, with reports by people across the Web of heard voices and other weird noises, and seeing shadows and strange lights throughout the halls. An Oklahoma paranormal investigative group said they visited the school several years ago and caught an EVP (electronic voice phenomena) of a basketball bouncing in the gym, but I can’t get my hands on the recording.


7. Bryant Center, Oklahoma City

Are those bowling pins... bleeding?!
Are those bowling pins... bleeding?!

The Bryant Center was the happening place in northeast Oklahoma City during the 1960s. It was kind of the epicenter of recreation for the area’s black community, and included a bowling alley, dance club, supper club and restaurant.

The center also hosted various events, like speaking engagements by prominent black leaders, and beauty pageants.

The good times didn’t last, though, as crime began infesting the area, and the ownership of the Bryant Center changed hands. It was last sold to a company in 1989.


6. The Walcourt, Oklahoma City

Eat your heart out, Instagram. We don't need no filthy filters.
Eat your heart out, Instagram. We don't need no filthy filters.

The year was 1982, and The Walcourt of Oklahoma City was added to the National Register of Historic Places for its interesting architecture.

Now, it sits with boarded windows and doors, its lawn decorated by a “no trespassing” sign.

The Walcourt was a two-story apartment building built in the 1920s. According to Preservation Oklahoma, the building’s architect, builder and owner strived to create posh apartments with all the bells and whistles, to appeal to the oilmen and bankers that flocked to Oklahoma City during its period of prosperity.

But, now it sits, deteriorating as the rest of downtown gets a facelift.


5. Cottonwood Manor, Yukon

You go first.
You go first.

The Cottonwood Manor is another allegedly haunted location, one that holds different histories depending who you ask.

If you ask the crew at Abandoned Oklahoma, then they’ll tell you the truth: Cottonwood Manor was originally a nursing home for people with physical and mental disabilities during the early 1900s. At some point the home was shut down and a man came in and bought it, wanting to turn it into a church.

Obviously, that never happened, and there the manor sits, earning a reputation it may or may not deserve.


4. The Savoy, Nowata

I bet those guys on "American Pickers" will read this and come a-knockin'.
I bet those guys on "American Pickers" will read this and come a-knockin'.

The oil and gas boom of Nowata’s yesteryear meant the town needed accommodations. And that’s where The Savoy came in.

Built in 1909, The Savoy was a luxurious hotel for the plethora of bigwigs visiting the area on business. Once business subsided, The Savoy turned into the county hospital during the 1940s. During the 1990s, the building was still being used, mostly for weddings and the like.

Then the roof began leaking and that was that for a little bit. A group did come to the rescue and put a new roof on the place, but progress has slowed since then.


3. The town of Skedee, Okla.

Now entering Spookyville, U.S.A.
Now entering Spookyville, U.S.A.

There’s nothing creepier than an abandoned town. From the stores to the schools to the houses, all of them left for greener pastures.

Skedee, Okla., is, sadly, a perfect example of this, though it’s not completely abandoned.

Skedee started off strong enough, mostly as an agricultural community. So strong, in fact that, by 1909, it had enough townsfolk to justify four churches, a school and a bank.

The population began to slowly dwindle, though, and in 2001, it only had 102 inhabitants. Most of them worked in neighboring cities like Stillwater and Pawnee. In 2010, the population had dropped by half of just 51.


2. St. Vincent’s Home, Oklahoma City

Welcome home.
Welcome home.

If you’re wanting to check out a haunted abandoned spot, and Edmond is too far of a drive, then head into Oklahoma City and visit what’s left of St. Vincent’s Home.

The home was for male patients only and was run by a group of Catholics called the Brothers of Mercy. Constructed in 1945, the walls of St. Vincent’s Home saw a number of terrifying things happen throughout its halls and rooms, which included two murders by a nurse.

When the Abandoned Oklahoma team members visited the location for photos, one of them also took a voice recorder to see if he could catch anything in the air. Sure enough, he did, and an EVP can be listened to here. And here’s what the investigator said about the experience:

… Listen carefully and you will hear a voice say “don’t ignore me.” After not sleeping all night and not exactly sure what we had recorded, we headed back to the location and tested out several possibilities. We set the recorder and walked down the hallway whispering “don’t ignore me” every foot or so. The results were shocking. After you get more than five feet from the recorder, all you hear is a muffled, but full of reverb and echo whisper. The recording is way too clear for it to have been whispered from more than three feet away. I had the recorder in my hand, and I was at least 15 feet from the other two in our team.


1. Camp Scott, Locust Grove

Some things are better left alone.
Some things are better left alone.

If you’re an Oklahoman reading this, chances are you know about the still-unsolved Girl Scout Murders that took place at Camp Scott in 1977. Heck, if you were alive and cerebral during the late 1970s and early 1980s, chances are you heard about the murders of the three children on the news, because it made national headlines.

While the murders are now considered a cold case, the event that predated the killings by less than two months is rather unsettling: A camp counselor returned to her tent to find her belongings rummaged through, some food missing and a note that read three girls would soon be murdered at the camp. Thinking it just a horror film-esque prank, the threat was discarded.

The police thought they had their man in prison escapee Gene Leroy Hart, but he was acquitted by the jury. The prospects of a conclusion via DNA testing were tossed out the window when results returned inconclusive due to the age of the blood samples. What followed was a civil suit by two of the families and the closure of the camp in 1977.


 

Now, as eager as you might be to get out there and explore these places on your own — don’t. The crew at Abandoned Oklahoma receives special permission to step onto these properties, and many of them have “no trespassing” signs posted.

That’s not to discourage the seeking of adventure and history. Just be smart about it.


by Richard Hall
Newsroom Developer
Richard Hall is a newsroom developer, editor and blogger for NewsOK. He was born in Austin, Texas, spent his childhood in southern California and has lived in Norman since 1999. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2008.
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