Demolition of Old
Turley School

Bob Cooper

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Brick reading 1920-2005

(An actual photograph of one of the bricks ... coated with varnish ... and stenciled)

In July 2005 the old two story, red brick building of Turley / Cherokee School was demolished. Bob Cooper and Lily Jo (Burden) Eslick captured the demolition on film.

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In this article I will be referring to the building as the "Turley High School". That was the purpose for which it was built.

It was indeed a High School from 1920 through 1939. Then it went on to be a building for Junior High students ... then in the late 1960's was reduced down to the elementary school. But even today, when someone speaks of it ... they still refer to it as the old Turley High School building.

85 Years - that's how long the building stood.

The fate of the old building was in discussion for over a year. Last year at the Turley Community Association a couple of representatives from the Tulsa Public Schools brought up the subject. They said they wanted to find out what the community would like to see done with it. They estimated it would take $500,000 to put it in condition for public use. $200,000 of that would be for an elevator alone. And they pointed out that there was asbestos in the building that would have to be removed. Wiring would have to brought up to code. And it would not be a good idea to just let it set there until it fell down. They offered to lease it to the community for $1.00 per year. However, it could not be used by the community without all those changes. The community was unable to give a solution to the problem ... so the Tulsa Public Schools began making their plans to tear it down.

On Monday, 25th of July 2005 the Ark Demolition Company began taking the old building down. Lily Jo and I captured the demolition process on film. Click on the thumbnail photo and it will open the larger photo in a new window.

Before demolition began

The first day of work

View from the north side (next to the old L. S. Robison Grocery)

The northeast corner was presenting a problem.
The newer construction was only about one foot away
and it was decided to take down that corner by hand.

This photo was taken at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, 2 August 2005.
This was the day the building was to be brought down.
A small crowd began to form.

These 3 photos were taken in rapid succession. The first shows
the wrecking machine in place poised to make it's first blow.
The 2nd as it swings toward the building and the 3rd as it struck
the building.

North side about 9:30 a.m.

About 11 a.m. Both sides on the back of the building were
completely down.

The wrecking crew discussing the saving of the front.
This front archway is to be saved and left as a memorial.

With the arch securely propped up it's time for a
lunch break.

The wrecking machine pushes the remainder of the
building downward to protect the front arch.

The arch survived. The sides have
to be taken down by hand.

This is all that's left of the old building.

A sad day for many. But ... Hey ... a lot of us did our best to tear down the old building while we were going to school there. We seemed to have the idea that if something happened to the building we wouldn't have to go to school. That is the same type mentality of those who try to drink Milwaukee dry. ... huh ?

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Linda Haas Davenport