John Marshall High School

City/Town: Oklahoma City, OK
Location Class: School
Year Built: 1950's
Year Abandoned: 2007
Status: Demolished
Photographer: Michael Schwarz

Most people when they think of the old John Marshall High School, they think of violence, gang activity and overall just a relatively bad part of town. However, back in the school’s booming days John Marshall was well known and the absolute best high school around Oklahoma City. Many awards were given to many talented and prideful students. Sporting teams were undefeated, or the best in their class. Many pleasant and treasured memories stir in the minds of the early graduates. Lurking in the empty halls kids are laughing, learning, and cherishing their future ahead of them.

John Marshall opened in early 1950 to serve the need for a high school in the ever-growing suburbs in far north Oklahoma City. In comparison to other high schools built by the OKCPS at this time it was considered the best. It features 2 gyms, tennis courts, football fields, and an auditorium. It thrived well into the 1970′s until the surrounding area began to declined. Once a feeder for students from Nichols Hills, Quail Creek, Val Verde, and the Greens, it saw its enrollment fade as these students began flocking to the private schools that dot the north side of the city. Crime began to rise in the 80′s and Marshall gained a horrible reputation for gang activity and violence. As part of Maps For Kids, a campaign began by the citizens to improve the area schools, John Marshall was tapped for re-location to Portland and Lake Hefner Parkway. The citizens of Quail Creek, The Greens, The Meadows and Arbors, and Val Verde fought desperately to not have this bad reputation right on their front doorstep. But to no avail. They lost the fight and the new John Marshall opened in 2005. Splitting students between the new location and the old for a year, they finally closed the original John Marshall in 2006. The OKCPS attempted to open the school as “Centennial High School” as an alternative school for the closed Gateway Academy, but this did not pan out. After a semester those students were transferred to the new school. The rambling old high school shows its age with weeds coming through the tennis courts, boarded windows, and a sign barely visible charting the achievements of its better days.

From old post:

Early this year (2013) John Marshall will be forever gone. I don’t normally encourage this, but if you want to see this building before it’s gone now is the time! Go and see it before it’s demolished! See Fire pictures at the bottom.

John Marshall High School – Final Days!!! – Hosted by ’87 Graduate Sherry Lynn Green

  • Saturday, February 2, 2013
  • 1:00pm until 7:00pm

We are wanting to all come together at our old high school to celebrate its legendary times and say our final goodbye to our old high school. We will be doing it both days to make it more convenient for people to attend. Please bring cameras, and anything you can find that represents your days at JMHS!!!

Click to Join The Event!

John Marshall is now torn down…

Read More and see 2009 pics at

Historical Pictures

Now Pictures

I have taken so many pictures of this place from when it was still in good shape to when the whole place seemed to have fallen apart to vandals. 5619 Images of this building to be exact. So instead of uploading all of them, here are a few pictures from various visits.

Fire Update!

Officials think a fire that damaged four classrooms in the old John Marshall High School building was intentionally set. Arson investigators are looking into the cause of a Saturday fire at the empty school, Fire Battalion Chief Brian Stanaland said. The utilities to the building had been turned off. There was no damage estimate because the building is scheduled for demolition. Oklahoma City Public Schools is in the process of selling the old school, district spokeswoman Kathleen Kennedy said Monday. The old John Marshall High School was built in 1945. The property includes the 240,000-square-foot facility and 20 acres of land. The school board agreed in August to sell the building to Premier Assets Inc. for $400,000. The building will be torn down, Kennedy said. The sale is on hold until the city council considers whether to rezone the property as residential, Kennedy said. The issue is expected to come before the council soon, she said. Two previous offers to buy the property and old school building haven’t worked out.


  1. I'm from Oklahoma City and I now go to Putnam city west , but my moms friends daughter went here for a year

  2. Christinia Fullmer on

    Of course it would be another good thing to consider with some values and what has been asked to do so will matter a lot, so indeed a better chance to get started with some objective to go on. msc personal statement

  3. I would have graduated in 1976, but dropped out in 74. Freak porch, Martin's pool hall; back then you didn't even have to show up for class and nothing ever happened. I skipped 35 of 45 days in Algebra and still passed (showed up for the quizzes and tests and made Bs.) It was a turbulent time; forced bussing, drugs everywhere, streaking, my parents divorce, racial and ethnic tensions, fights, etc. It was an education, just not what we would normally want for our kids. My father lived in Val Verde when JM moved and hated the idea. He moved to a gated community in Edmond to get away.
    I came on this site doing research for a short story set in OKC. Thanks everyone for their comments. The Pool Hall still lives (at least in my fiction!) Coming of age story, and what a time. Had to grow up fast. Second girl i had sex with got pregnant the next year- how that might have changed my life had it been me.
    Still, Marshall was actually less violent than Harding, which I went to in 70-71.
    Thanks for jogging my memories!!!!!

  4. Kimberly Gilleland on

    I wish you had some pictures of the ROTC room. There was a mural in the room of fighter jets that I painted before I graduated but all of my original pictures have been lost. I graduated in 2002 and I have many fond memories of this school. There was a lot of stupidity and thugs but a lot of us were there to learn and I had wonderful teachers that taught me a lot. I met my husband here my freshman year in German class with Mrs. Tucker. Sad that the place I met my husband is being demolished.

  5. Bill Whitman on

    Class of 84, wish I had more pics from then which were happier times. It was just sad to find out the school was abandoned. I had hoped to show my boys if we drove through, but there's now nothing and it would just be embarrassing.

  6. I attended JMHS from 7th through 12th and am 1967 graduate. Really sad to see those recent photos – not what I remember, but have mostly great memories of John Marshall and I took pride in being a graduate. I wish that something could be done to make use of the building, but it seems nothing has worked out.

  7. Hi everyone, I'm sorry that I haven't been on this site much. The best way also to follow me and JMHS stuff is to friend request me on Facebook. There will be more events being planned. Thanks!

  8. We have decided to open our POWERFUL and PRIVATE web traffic system to the public for a limited time! You can sign up for our UP SCALE network with a free trial as we get started with the public’s orders. Imagine how your bank account will look when your website gets the traffic it deserves. Visit us today:

  9. Class of 88. Visited the school today…disappointing. Magnificent, substantial structure, really, better than I remember it…but like a war-zone inside. Tearing down this beast (or Bear) will be some feat. But ah the memories – the smelly bathrooms, broken fixtures, and sloppy cover-up paint jobs that I remember lose all meaning when I once again climb those staircases and feel their granite solidity underfoot one last time. Everyone who reads this, I think, will remember the doubt and wonder they had when climbing those stairs for the first time. What's left now – the floors, the walls – seem like they should be there forever. Marshall had faded by the time I arrived, and perhaps further after I left. A pure shame. Losing your high school is a little like losing a family member, even if they are aged and ugly.

  10. I graduated from John Marshall High School in 1953. It was a fantastic place with wonderful teachers. How fortunate I was to attend there!

  11. Thank you for sharing these pictures. These pictures brought back soooo many memories of being a BEAR ! In my minds eye I can remember those catwalks in the auditorium . I can smell the smoke from the freak porch and I can hear Ms. Dolly Turner yelling at us to get in place for the dance recital. Thank you for spending your time to bring back a piece of my teenage years. I will never forget being a BEAR !!!!

  12. Donna Sadler Holt on

    Class of 1965. I remember the first day I entered John Marshall as a Freshman. The school seemed so big. But, I found it warm & inviting inside. One of the things I remember most was the phone booth. The day President Kennedy was shot I used ti to call home. I had to borrow a dime from my friend to make the call.
    It is really hard to see my old High School in that condition, but the pictures did bring
    back good memories.

  13. I'm a proud graduate of JMHS. '80 – '84. I went on to serve our country in the United States Air Force, receive an Associate's Degree, Bachelor's Degree, MBA, attend the Wharton School and UPenn and become an Executive Leader for multi billion dollar enterprise. I mentor Women across the US in business and Leadership Development and I have spear-headed a mentor program for at risk 8th graders in the area I live and work. I am a proud product of JMHS… Bear Pride!!!

  14. I was there in 71 and 72 – yes, I remember the freak porch! Also Martin Rich's pool hall… JM was a good school back then. I remember good teachers. Then integration came in and I went to NE High School twice a week on a bus. There were knifings at NW High School and several kids were killed around OKC. Integration needed to happen but I guess it was always going to be a bit difficult at first. I was sorry to hear JM moved. Thanks for the photos. They are sad but they bring back happy memories.

    • I also remember the freak porch! I can also remember stepping right inside school's doorway to share a toke when the weather was too cold outside. Can you imagine this now? LOL

  15. These pictures brought back such good memories for me. I moved back to OKC about 4 years ago, and of course, one of my first stops was John Marshall. I graduated in 1984, ran track there all four years. I also remember the diversity of the students, how well we all got along. I believe it was Coach Harrington who donated the track to us. Before that we ran everyday on the dirt track. If it was ice and snow on the ground, only then did Coach Ellis let us work out inside the school. Looking at these pictures right now make me wish I was a millionaire. I would, without hesitation revamp this school and do something positive with it. My husband (who graduated from JMHS in 1986) and I recently visited John Marshall. We walked the grounds, and talked of old times, our hangout spots, and places we would go and eat for lunch. John Marshall High school is still a Majestic and beautiful building.

  16. Pat of 64, What a shame the school is left in such a shambles! So many great memories are with that year! I was in the ninth grade, in the choir, and even though we went to state, and did not win , we had a great time!! I don't know what the school was like when they closed it, but when I went to it, we had great teachers, and did not have to worry about guns, or drugs!! You could walk the halls safely!! Oh yeh, my first big crush! I had to move to Anadarko, but I will never forget John Marshall

  17. I, too, am saddened by these images. I visited home last February and saw it for with my own eyes, and I was in shock at the condition our school was in then, and now the fire was the nail in the coffin. But what saddens me even more is that none of the GREAT things that happened at JM were mentioned at all! JM was known for track, bball AND football!!! Not to mention the number of graduates and college graduates produced. I could go on but I believe my point has been made. I am a 97 graduate, and I remember gangs being present, but horrible? Nah… That wasn’t us! They can tear the building down, but we will keep our memories and bonds alive forever…All hail! Our alma mater, all hail to the red and blue!!!!!!

    • Hi Mary E,

      I am just now looking at this and I have no idea when it will take place. We are still waiting on word for it and everyone who will be attending to this event on February 2, Saturday at 1:00 pm is wanting a piece of the old high school.

  18. Sherry Lynn Green on

    February 2nd and 3rd – Saturday/Sunday – we are ALL getting together to be with our old high school for the last time. I do not know when they will demolish it and we are trying to find out and hoping that weekend is good and the weather holds up so we can all get together to be with John Marshall High School. So far, I will say we have close to 50 former students attending. You are more than welcome to come and see the school one last time. I left JMHS in 1987! Go Bears! Sr, '87 – Sherry L. Green

      • Yes, Due to many legal issues that would follow. The pictures I took were with permission and many safety precautions were taken.

    • Hi Ms. Green, my name is Rheuben Green, and I am the band director at NW Classen HS. I happened across the website 'Abandoned OK' a couple years ago and found that the Old John Marshall was abandoned. As I looked through the photographs I noticed that there were still musical instruments (that need repair), boxes of sheet music, and an army of music stands (these retail for $40 a piece) located inside the building still. I have been trying for a couple years to get someone in the OKCPS district to give me permission to retrieve these items from the school for use in our district. No one has returned any of my emails. I've even tried the companies that were supposedly purchasing the property, and no one has ever called or written me back. I am writing to see if you happen to know who I can talk to about salvaging these musical items so children in our school district don't have to go without..

      • Rheuben Green III, I hate to disappoint you but somebody already beat you to the punch. I've been in several time after AOK, and that room is now completely empty. I've covered every inch of this building and the instruments are no longer there. Hate to be the bearer of bad news. Feel free to message me with further questions. Just click "Contact" at the top of this webpage.

      • Mr. Green III, sorry I am now seeing this message but the best thing to do is to follow us on facebook if you have an account with FB and send a friend's request and can get you answers you need quickly. I apologize for not getting back to you and of course Michael has already taken care of that to 🙂 … hope to see you on facebook. Thanks!

  19. Lynn Evans Cox on

    These pictures made me cry today as I just happened on this site. I attended John Marshall from 1954 thru 1955. I was in 7th and 8th grade and I loved this school, the teachers I had and the wonderful friends I made during my time there. Because my father was transferred to another location was the reason for me not being able to graduate from this school but I would have been proud to have been a 1959 graduate. The education that I received here was wonderful, the teachers trying their best to bring out the best in their students. When we came to Okla. City from Texas we lived in Nichols Hills and later moved to Cassidy Heights. We lived there for 4 years total and I cried when we had to leave. Recently I have been in touch with former classmates and what a joy. I have even been invited to the reunion next fall for the class of 1958 and what an honor. I just cannot imagine how this wonderful school could have fallen so hard. It was such an honor to be on the first ever cheerleading squad for the junior high. We had the pleasure of the highschool cheerleaders to teach us and what fun.

  20. For its last 10 years or so of existence the reputation of JMHS was WELL DESERVED. Gangs and the "gansta" lifestyle infested the school and the surrounding neighborhoods. Police calls to the school were a common almost daily occurrence. During basketball games a police presence was a GUARANTEE. One thing not mentioned is that when the new JMHS opened the school system wisely drew the attendence lines so the baddest of the bad the real scraping the bottom of the bucket went to Centenial over on N. Kelly.

    Only the most presentable students moved over on NW 122 and the residents of the area really got what they wanted in the end. Nostaligia is fine and nice but the reality of this being a gritty/underclass/gangsta school at the end is the reality and not some white folks fears.

  21. I attended JMHS from 1993-1997. This has been such a walk down memory lane. It brought back a flood of memories of the great times that were had there. It saddens me to see this school in this shape. Considering, the once great shape it was once in. I moved away with the military shortly after graduation, and I haven't seen the school since '99. Thank you for saving a few images of the high school.

Leave A Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Copyright 2012-2016 by - - Designed By Michael Schwarz - Disclaimer