Memphis ghost schools (a photo essay)

You can tell it’s Sweeps Weeks when the local TV stations run stories with titles like School Sex Dens.  But Channel 5’s story does bring to light the dozens of abandoned Memphis City Schools around the city.  The next day after seeing the story, I happened to be on St. Paul Street, near Downtown, where I ran across Locke Elementary.

Locke Elementary, St. Paul St., Memphis, TN

Last year, while on a photo tour in South Memphis, I found this school at 1560 Florida Street.

School – 1560 Florida Street, Memphis, TN

Since then the sheet metal has been removed and a high chain link fence with NO TRESPASSING signs has been installed.

School - Florida Street

Boarded Up

This former school (I believe it was Prospect Elementary) on Hernando, was most recently used as the South Area Administration Building, according to the sign.  It’s boarded up now, with trash dumped around back.

South Admin -School - MCS

South Area Admin Building - Hernando Rd., South Memphis, TN

I have found it difficult to research City owned (or is it MCS owned?) school properties.  I couldn’t find any information on the properties I looked up on the County Register’s website, where large tracts of  City-owned land go without description or parcel numbers.

Tax payers should have a lot of questions about how many abandoned school buildings are in the City and their condition? What is the plan for dealing with them?  Could they be deeded over to non-profits or other community agencies?  Or should they just be demolished?   If you know of any abandoned schools, let me know in the Comments section below, and I will put them on the list for a follow-up post.

A bit of self-indulgence

My elementary school, Longview Elementary on Alice Avenue in South Memphis was demolished a number of years ago.  Longview sat on a huge tract of City owned land that stretches from Longview Middle School on the East to Alton Elementary on the West.


Where Longview Elementary used to be

Site of the former Longview Elementary, Alice Ave, South Memphis

I walked up the walk and past that huge oak tree every school day for six of my young years.  The tree was old and huge then.  Strangely, they didn’t demolish the steps or all of the walk, nor did they remove the flagpole, which still stands on the site to the east of the oak.

You might also enjoy Ghost burbs – 1950s Whitehaven neighborhoods minus houses

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Joe Spake is a Memphis-based Real Estate Broker and Consultant. He blogs at Joe Spake's Weblog and Memphis Real Estate Buzz. Joe's Social Network.

  • Bbwoof2000

    Wow! I attended Fla Street School from 1943 (1st grade) until 1951 (8th grade). I stll remember all my teacher’s names. 1st. Ms Ratcliff 2nd Ms Murdock 3rd Ms Glover 4th Ms Bishop 5th Ms Bland 6th Ms Winston 7th Ms Gordon 8th Mr Wright. I sure wish pictures had been taken back then. It would have been interesting to see my childhood classmates names so I could maybe reconnect through the internet. Anyway if anyone from that age is reading this my name is LeVaughn Dickerson. I live in Fairfield CA. email address: If anybody remembers me, give me a shout. I have lots of good childhood memories from Florida Street School.

  • Thanks for your comment, LeVaughn. I hear about so many great Memphis memories through this blog and Facebook.

  • Betty_owen

    I attented Prospect school I might  have a  picture of it  I need to check

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