|City/Town: • Winslow|
|Location Class: • School|
|Built: • 1930 | Abandoned: • 2006|
|Status: • Restored|
|Photojournalist: • Michael Schwarz • Eddy Sisson • James Kirkendall|
In the 1930’s, in the southern part of Washington county, the Winslow school for K-12 was created to support education for the rural areas around Winslow, a sparsely populated town in North-West Arkansas. For the next seventy years, Winslow Elementary and high school would remain the only option in primary and secondary education for the area. Finally, in 2004, the high school consolidated with the Greenland school district and closed down. However, the elementary school remained open for the next couple of years.
After a long history of declining enrollment, the elementary school closed its doors, but not before influencing the creation of a public library where the high school used to stand. The history of this rural school is fairly straight forward. What’s particularly interesting is the state of decay that remained. There are many parts of the school that appear destroyed and vandalized, as you may expect from a closed down school. Viewing the art room, for example, with splattered paint on the walls and art supplies utterly destroyed, calls to something primal. Walking through certain rooms of the school, however, gives the impression that the school is still very much in attendance. The decorations and desks are still in their place, the markers and pens are ready for use, and there are still assignments left written in notebooks and on chalkboards. It seems as though, one day, a fire alarm was pulled and everyone went outside to follow procedure, but no one ever came back.
The effect is both haunting and beautiful as we are allowed a glimpse into the everyday life of this school and its students, from the fake money used to teach shopping and finance to the student painting that still hangs prominently in the cafeteria. Walking through, we began to expect the 3:00 bell to ring, and when we left, we were almost disappointed that it hadn’t.
Article written by Wells Thompson and Michael Schwarz – AAR staff
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