It's reunion time again for anyone who ever attended Washington Elementary School in Shawnee.


About Washington

• Washington Elementary school was one of Shawnee's three new ward schools built in 1904.

• Jefferson, Franklin and Washington were all built on the same two-story floor plan with a basement and of the same architectural design –– and in 1906 Horace Mann was added at the corner of Eleventh and Draper –– also built exactly like the other three schools.

• Washington was replaced by a newer building in 1937.

• The plot in Farrell Park where Washington stands

was leased from the city for 99 years.

• In the 1980s when the school system went to grade centers, Washington housed all the Shawnee fifth graders.

• Use of the building was discontinued in the late 1990s.

Information gathered from “Pottawatomie County Oklahoma History,” published by Country Lane Press, 1987.


Washington Elementary School built in 1904.

Washington Elementary School, as it looked after it was rebuilt in 1937.

Photos provided by Pottawatomie County Museum

It's reunion time again for anyone who ever attended Washington Elementary School in Shawnee.

Don Roe, Class of '57, has put the call out for his fellow classmates — and other former students — to join in an annual get-together next week.

Shawnee's long-since abandoned school site still marks the home of many memories to area students.

Whether those memories are of a special teacher, best friends or specific moments, Roe said the event is a great opportunity –– no matter what class year –– to remember and share stories that connect nine decades of former students to the building on Hayes Street.

He recalled a certain bird that used to loiter around the school's open window ledges, thieving nesting material from unsuspecting students.

“That was before air-conditioning,” he said. “I don't know if it was a crow or a raven, but I can tell you there must have been quite a nest somewhere around there that was full of pencils.”

He said back then, if he didn't want to eat at the school, a fellow could do pretty good for himself at lunch with only 50 cents.

“There was an old mom-and-pop store on the northwest corner of Park and Hayes –– just north of the tennis courts –– where you could get a hamburger for 25 cents,” he said.

Before the water distribution plant was built up in the neighborhood, Roe said there was all kinds of space to the south of the school.

“I don't know of any other Shawnee school that had that much room to wander,” he said.

How it started

Roe said Don Loveland came up with the reunion idea seven or eight years ago, thinking it would be nice to get a group picture on the south steps of the school –– like in the old days.

“It just kind of kicked it off,” Roe said.

Roe's wife, Sandy, is a graduate of 1958 and a former classmate of Loveland, who died in April 2013.

“He's gone now, but we're still getting together,” Roe said.

Roe said the event's attendance fluctuates some.

“The most we've had was probably around 100,” he said. “Other times it may be 50 to 75.”

In the past, classmates have come from all over the state –– as far away as Ada, Purcell and Yukon or as close as a block away from the school, Roe said.

“I think the oldest classmate we had was a 103-year-old lady who was there a couple years ago,” he said. “She didn't make it last year. She may be in a nursing home now.”

The group has been getting together on the first Saturday in October each year, he said, though there's no particular reason why the six-person committee chose that particular date.

The class-wide gathering is from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, at Shawnee Community Center, 804 S. Park Ave. –– directly east of Washington Elementary School.

All former Washington students and their families are welcome to attend.

For more information, call Roe at (405) 596-0731.