The story of an 111-year-old schoolhouse

Looking northwest at West Admiral Boulevard at North Maybelle Avenue

In 1909 Owen School opened at 18 N. Maybelle Ave. as one of the first public schools in Tulsa, named for influential Tulsa hotelier and merchant Chauncey Owen. Later that year, the Owen family would sell a portion of its nearby land to the city, eventually creating Tulsa’s first public park, still named Owen Park today.

Like the park, the unique four-story school building was at that time beyond the reach of downtown. Sometime in the next 10 years, it was renamed Washington Irving Elementary for the famous author of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Irving’s 1830s work "Tour of the Prairies" was written about his experiences visiting what would become Tulsa a half-century later.

The Irving name was etched into subsequent additions to the campus. But Irving students released for summer break in 1974 never returned to their buildings on Maybelle, and by 1983 the property was sold. Now the 111-year-old* schoolhouse is slightly crumbling, though the campus is utilized by Blue Sky Supply Co.

*Built in 1908 opened as a school in 1909

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