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.
Last year, while on a photo tour in South Memphis, I found this school at 1560 Florida Street.
Since then the sheet metal has been removed and a high chain link fence with NO TRESPASSING signs has been installed.
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.
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.
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.
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