Rich in history and endowed with diverse landscapes, Oklahoma is a state that promises a unique array of experiences for the adventurous at heart. Apart from its bustling cities and charming small towns, Oklahoma also hosts a number of forgotten locales that offer a stirring exploration of its past. In fact, the abandoned places in Oklahoma serve as a striking counterpoint to its vibrant present, drawing urban explorers, photographers, and history enthusiasts from around the country.
Be it the dilapidated structures swallowed by nature, ghost towns echoing with silent stories, or old, deserted factories, these places hold a haunting, desolate beauty that is both intriguing and thought-provoking.
Note: Many of these locations are in an extremely delicate state. Specifics on locations, such as coordinates or maps, are not given. This is done so purposefully as a barrier to entry to those who may mean harm to these spots. I want to ensure that these abandoned places in Oklahoma are known about, but stay as vandalism and destruction free as possible. Remember: Take only photos, leave only footprints.
Breakdown: The Top 10 and More
If you have a specific location from the list below that you would like to immediately get more information about, click the links in the list to snap straight to that abandoned places in Oklahoma location.
- The Abandoned Skedee High School (Skedee)
- Tulsa Club Building (Tulsa)
- Bennett Plantation House (El Reno)
- Pitcher Lead Mines (Pitcher)
- The Overholser Mansion (Oklahoma City)
- Guthrie Scottish Rite Temple (Guthrie)
- The Savoy Hotel (Nowata)
- Fort Washita (Durant)
- Talihina Indian Tuberculosis Hospital (Talihina)
- Skedee Statue (Skedee)
Broaden Your Horizons Beyond Oklahoma
Are you interested in venturing outside the state of Oklahoma? Maybe you live close to the state line, or maybe you’re just looking for adventures outside your home state. Whatever the case may be, here are some guides to bordering states that may be helpful in effective urban exploration:
Don’t Forget About Trespassing Laws
It is important when considering abandoned places in Oklahoma to know the basics of Oklahoma trespassing laws. Luckily, we have developed a massive guide to trespassing laws in all 50 states. For laws that specifically relate to Oklahoma, please click here.
Without any further ado, let’s hop into the list of abandoned places!
The Best Abandoned Places in Oklahoma
The Abandoned Skedee High School (Skedee)
The Abandoned Skedee High School in Skedee, Oklahoma, is a silent tribute to the town’s educational past. Skedee, a small rural town that once flourished in the early 20th century, saw a decline in its population over the years, and the high school, a vital part of the community, eventually shared the same fate.
Constructed in the early 1900s, the school was a typical example of the period’s educational architecture, with its characteristic brick facade, large multi-paned windows, and a layout designed to accommodate numerous classrooms and facilities. This educational institution was once the heartbeat of Skedee, filled with the energy and dynamism of its student population, playing a key role in molding generations of the town’s youth.
However, as the town’s population dwindled and the student numbers fell, the high school was eventually closed and abandoned.
How Things Look Today
Today, the deserted school building, with its boarded-up windows and overgrown playgrounds, stands in sharp contrast to its former vibrant self. The vacant classrooms, once buzzing with the chatter of students, are now silent, and the hallways, once filled with the echoes of footsteps and laughter, are eerily quiet.
The building’s faded exterior, worn by the passing years and the harsh Oklahoma weather, adds a poignant touch to the site. The empty sports fields and playgrounds are a stark reminder of the youthful energy that once pervaded the place.
Although the building is not open for public exploration due to safety concerns, its unmistakable structure can be seen from the main street of Skedee. For history enthusiasts and urban explorers, the sight of the abandoned high school offers a poignant glimpse into the town’s past, a symbol of its educational legacy now preserved in time and memory.
Tulsa Club Building (Tulsa)
The Tulsa Club Building in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is a storied monument with a rich and colorful past. Designed by the celebrated architect Bruce Goff and completed in 1927, the Tulsa Club Building was once a grand symbol of Tulsa’s booming oil industry and its associated wealth. The building, with its Gothic Revival architecture, was home to the prestigious Tulsa Club, which was a social and networking hub for the city’s affluent individuals and oil barons.
In its prime, the building was a vibrant centerpiece of Tulsa’s social scene. Its lavish interiors housed a variety of facilities, including ballrooms, lounges, private dining rooms, and a library, all exquisitely furnished and adorned. The Club was renowned for its extravagant parties, significant events, and was a prominent fixture in Tulsa’s social calendar.
However, as Tulsa’s oil boom waned, so did the fortunes of the Tulsa Club. Membership declined, the building fell into disrepair, and by the 1990s, the Club had gone bankrupt. The building was abandoned and left to the mercy of the elements and vandals. Fires in 1999 and 2010 further added to its dilapidation, leaving it a shadow of its former grandeur.
How Things Look Today
The abandoned Tulsa Club Building, with its vacant rooms, peeling paint, and crumbling plaster, stood as a melancholic reminder of the city’s more prosperous times. Its grand ballroom, which once echoed with music and laughter, was silent, its ornate fixtures tarnished and faded. The once opulent dining rooms and lounges were vacant, their glamour obscured under layers of dust and neglect.
However, in recent years the Tulsa Club Building has undergone a transformation. A comprehensive restoration project has breathed new life into the building, and it reopened as a hotel in 2019. Still, memories of its abandoned years linger, adding a touch of intrigue to its resplendent revival. The Tulsa Club Building, with its turbulent past, serves as a fascinating emblem of Tulsa’s boom-to-bust-and-back-again history.
Bennett Plantation House (El Reno)
Located just outside El Reno, Oklahoma, the Bennett Plantation House is a haunting reminder of an era long past. This impressive structure, built in the late 19th century by Civil War veteran F.M. Bennett, was once at the heart of a thriving cotton plantation and a bustling hub of activity. But today, it stands forlorn and forgotten, a solitary monument in an expansive, windswept landscape.
The house itself is a striking example of the Victorian Italianate style, with its tall, narrow windows, deep eaves, and ornamental brackets. In its prime, the Bennett Plantation House would have been a grand sight to behold. It was the center of a prosperous agricultural enterprise and a testament to the wealth and status of the Bennett family.
The mansion features intricate woodwork, sweeping staircases, and fireplaces in nearly every room – signs of its former opulence. The house’s expansive verandas once offered panoramic views of the sprawling cotton fields that surrounded it, while its well-appointed interior bore silent witness to the ebb and flow of the Bennett family’s fortunes.
However, as the decades wore on, the cotton industry faltered, and the Bennett family’s fortunes dwindled. The house was gradually abandoned and left to face the ravages of time and weather.
How Things Look Today
Today, it stands eerily empty, its once bustling rooms silent and its once vibrant facades faded and weather-beaten.
Walking around the deserted mansion, one can’t help but feel a sense of melancholy. The vacant rooms, once filled with life and laughter, echo with the silence of abandonment. The grand staircase, where generations of Bennetts may have descended in their finery, is now shrouded in dust and shadows.
The Bennett Plantation House, despite its present state of decay, remains a fascinating relic of the past. It stands as a poignant reminder of the cyclical nature of fortune and a testament to the transitory nature of prosperity. It’s a hauntingly beautiful site that attracts urban explorers and history enthusiasts alike, eager to catch a glimpse of the bygone era it represents.
Pitcher Lead Mines (Pitcher)
Tucked away in the northeastern corner of Oklahoma, in the small town of Pitcher, lie the remnants of what was once one of the richest lead and zinc mining fields in the world. The Pitcher Lead Mines, established in the early 20th century, were a hive of activity, with miners extracting countless tons of ore and contributing significantly to the region’s economy.
However, a combination of depleting resources and environmental issues led to the mines’ abandonment, and the once thriving town of Pitcher is now largely a ghost town.
The mines themselves present a stark and somewhat eerie landscape. Numerous mine shafts, known locally as “chat piles,” dot the area, their entrances sealed and the towering mounds of excavated rock standing as monoliths to the area’s past.
In their prime, these mines were a testament to human endeavor, their depths teeming with workers chipping away at the rich veins of ore. Today, they stand empty and silent, their once bustling tunnels now dark and dormant.
How Things Look Today
Wandering around the deserted mining area is a haunting experience. The skeletal remains of the mining infrastructure, including the towering derricks and the rusted machinery, paint a stark picture of an industry and a community that once was. The enormous chat piles, with their rugged surfaces and haphazard shapes, cast long shadows over the landscape, offering a stark contrast to the flat plains that surround them.
One of the most poignant aspects of the Pitcher Lead Mines is the environmental legacy they left behind. Years of mining and ore processing led to significant contamination, with the groundwater and soil in the area bearing high levels of lead and other toxic metals. This has led to Pitcher being designated as a Superfund site by the Environmental Protection Agency, with ongoing efforts to remediate the area.
Despite the melancholy air that surrounds the Pitcher Lead Mines, they remain a fascinating site for exploration. They stand as a monument to the industrial past, bearing witness to the rise and fall of an industry that once defined the region. For those interested in history, industrial archaeology, or simply the poignant beauty of abandoned places, the Pitcher Lead Mines offer a compelling destination.
The Overholser Mansion (Oklahoma City)
Situated in the heart of Oklahoma City stands a remarkable testament to a bygone era, the Overholser Mansion. This grand estate, once a symbol of opulence and prosperity, was built in 1903 by Henry Overholser, a pioneering businessman considered by many as the “Father of Oklahoma City”.
Though the mansion is not entirely abandoned and serves as a historic house museum, some parts of the mansion and the surrounding grounds convey an air of neglect and fading grandeur, making it a fascinating site for explorers and history enthusiasts.
From the outside, the mansion’s imposing architectural style immediately captures your attention. The three-story structure, with its Romanesque Revival style, features numerous towers, turrets, and gables that lend it an air of Victorian elegance. As you walk around the exterior, you can appreciate the intricate stonework and ornate detailing that give a nod to the European influences popular in American architecture of the time.
How Things Look Today
Stepping inside the Overholser Mansion is akin to stepping back in time. The mansion’s interiors boast original furnishings and decorations, giving a vivid sense of the lavish lifestyle of Oklahoma City’s early elite. You’ll find parlors filled with ornate furniture, bedrooms adorned with antique pieces, and a grand dining room that speaks to the hospitality that once took place within these walls.
The grandeur of the main areas sharply contrasts with some of the less restored sections of the mansion, where the passage of time is palpable and an air of abandonment permeates.
One of the highlights of the Overholser Mansion is its collection of antique musical instruments, including a grand piano and an intricate music box. These once echoed through the mansion’s halls, filling them with music and life. Now, their silence serves as a poignant reminder of the mansion’s more vibrant days.
The mansion’s grounds, though relatively well-kept, also show signs of the estate’s faded glory. Overgrown vegetation tangles around the property’s perimeters and the once manicured gardens now grow wild, creating a striking contrast to the cityscape that surrounds them.
While the Overholser Mansion is not completely abandoned, the blend of grandeur and decay make it a compelling site. It stands as a relic of Oklahoma City’s early days, a monument to its founding families, and a symbol of the passage of time. It’s a must-visit for history buffs and those who appreciate the mysterious allure of once-luxurious spaces touched by time.
Guthrie Scottish Rite Temple (Guthrie)
In the heart of historic Guthrie, Oklahoma, stands an architectural gem and symbol of fraternal heritage – the Guthrie Scottish Rite Temple. This massive structure, once teeming with the activities of the Freemason brotherhood, has faced periods of abandonment and neglect, adding a layer of mysterious allure to its dignified presence.
Constructed in 1923, the temple was built as a meeting place for the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in Oklahoma. Its architecture embodies an eclectic blend of styles, with Gothic, Romanesque, and even Egyptian influences noticeable in its design.
The red brick facade, accentuated with intricate stone carvings and tall, arched windows, gives the building a sense of old-world grandeur. The central tower, a dominant feature of the structure, adds to its imposing character, reaching skyward with a dignity that reflects the temple’s past significance.
How Things Look Today
Upon entering the temple, one can’t help but be awestruck by the sheer scale and detail of its interiors. The building houses a number of grand halls, each designed with a different architectural theme. These include a majestic auditorium with a capacity of 1,500, complete with an ornate ceiling, a massive pipe organ, and a stage, and a grand dining hall that once hosted lavish banquets.
However, the once vibrant and busy halls of the temple have been quiet for some time. The decline in active membership and the high costs of maintenance led to periods of abandonment and disuse. As you wander through the cavernous halls, the silence is palpable, broken only by the occasional echo or creak that only accentuates the feeling of desolation.
Despite this, the craftsmanship and artistry in the temple’s design continue to shine. The extensive use of ornamental plasterwork, stained glass, and decorative painting creates a sense of awe and respect for the skill and labor that went into the construction of this incredible structure.
In its prime, the Guthrie Scottish Rite Temple was a hub of Masonic activities and social gatherings. Today, while it may not buzz with the same vibrancy, it continues to command admiration for its architectural beauty and historical significance. Even in its silence and partial abandonment, the temple stands as a testament to the city’s cultural and architectural legacy, making it a fascinating destination for explorers and history enthusiasts alike.
Most recently, plans were underway for restoration and repurposing, ensuring the temple’s legacy endures for future generations. Always check current local regulations and restrictions before visiting such locations.
The Savoy Hotel (Nowata)
The Savoy Hotel, a historic building situated in the heart of Nowata, Oklahoma, is an impressive relic of the city’s past. Its ornate architectural details and sturdy brick facade still exude an aura of early 20th-century elegance, even as time and abandonment have left their marks on the structure.
Built in 1909 during the oil boom, the Savoy Hotel quickly established itself as a premiere lodging spot for those drawn to Nowata by the prospect of black gold. Its architecture is a testament to the prosperity of that era, showcasing elements of the Classical Revival style. With a symmetrical facade adorned with decorative molding and the building’s name prominently etched on the upper edge, the Savoy Hotel was a beacon of sophistication and prosperity in its heyday.
The hotel boasts over 30 rooms, each one once filled with finely crafted furnishings and offering the comforts of the modern world to oil tycoons, business people, and other affluent guests. The ground floor of the building, with its high ceilings and large windows, was home to several businesses over the years, including a restaurant and a barber shop, adding to the building’s liveliness and function as a community hub.
However, as the oil boom slowed and Nowata’s prosperity waned, the Savoy Hotel experienced a steady decline. Over the years, it has gone through periods of disuse and abandonment. Despite this, the structure’s once-luxurious rooms, grand hallways, and ornate exterior details continue to echo the building’s past glory.
How Things Look Today
Today, the Savoy Hotel, standing silent and largely vacant, offers a window into a bygone era. Its brickwork, faded by time, and its empty rooms, bearing traces of their former grandeur, evoke a sense of nostalgia and a longing for the times when the Savoy Hotel was a symbol of Nowata’s prosperity.
Although the Savoy Hotel may be abandoned, its historical and architectural significance has not been forgotten. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, recognizing its contribution to Nowata’s cultural heritage. Most recently, plans for rehabilitation were in consideration, hoping to breathe new life into this iconic structure. As always, should you wish to visit, please respect local regulations and private property rights.
Fort Washita (Durant)
Located near Durant in Bryan County, Oklahoma, the historic site of Fort Washita stands as a silent testament to a tumultuous period in American history. Established in 1842, in the wake of the Indian Removal Act, the fort served as a frontier outpost on the edge of the “Indian Territory,” aimed at protecting relocated Native American tribes from Plains tribes.
Built upon a broad hilltop, the site offered strategic visibility over the surrounding landscape. Fort Washita was not a fort in the traditional sense – instead of walls or fortifications, it consisted of a collection of military and domestic buildings. The structures, which included officers’ quarters, barracks, stables, and service buildings, were primarily constructed from local sandstone and arranged around a central parade ground.
The fort was active during several significant historical periods, including the Mexican-American War, the California Gold Rush, and the Civil War. Its most turbulent times were during the Civil War, when it was abandoned by federal forces and subsequently occupied by Confederate troops.
How Things Look Today
Today, what remains of Fort Washita are primarily ruins and restored structures that whisper tales of its vibrant past. Some buildings, like the 1856 barracks, have been restored to their former glory, while others, such as the officers’ quarters, exist only as stark, haunting ruins. The fort’s sandstone structures, weathered by time and the elements, possess a rugged beauty that starkly contrasts with the peaceful, rural surroundings.
Strolling through the site, you can almost hear the echoes of bugle calls and soldiers’ boots tramping on the parade ground. Interpretive signs and displays help to paint a picture of the daily life, hardships, and tensions that would have been common at this frontier outpost.
Fort Washita, now managed by the Oklahoma Historical Society, serves as a tangible link to the past, offering a window into a complex and often tragic chapter of America’s history. Its wide, open grounds and architectural remnants inspire a sense of reverence and contemplation. Visitors are invited to explore the site, engage with its history, and reflect on its role in the shaping of the nation.
Talihina Indian Tuberculosis Hospital (Talihina)
The Talihina Indian Tuberculosis Hospital, perched on the hills of Talihina, Oklahoma, is a haunting testament to the area’s healthcare history. The facility was established in the early 20th century to treat members of local Native American tribes afflicted with tuberculosis. This disease was particularly prevalent during this period and had a significant impact on indigenous populations.
The hospital, equipped with state-of-the-art facilities of the time, provided a lifeline to the afflicted. It was an imposing structure, characterized by its long, sprawling wings designed to accommodate the many patients and the extensive treatment rooms essential for combating the disease.
However, as medical advancements led to the decline of tuberculosis and as the hospital’s patient base dwindled, the facility was eventually abandoned.
How Things Look Today
Today, the Talihina Indian Tuberculosis Hospital stands as a poignant reminder of its past. The grand, now silent structure, with its overgrown courtyards, vacant corridors, and empty patient rooms, casts a long shadow over the surrounding landscape. The building’s pale exterior, scarred by time and the elements, adds to the eerie beauty of the site.
Despite the building being closed to the public due to safety concerns, it’s hard to miss this looming structure when passing through Talihina. The deserted hospital, visible from Oklahoma State Highway 1, offers a captivating sight for urban explorers and history enthusiasts, its desolate state belying its once vital role in the area’s public health system.
There’s a sense of solemnity that cloaks the hospital—a stark contrast to the life and activity that once buzzed within its walls. This abandoned site serves as a silent tribute to the healthcare workers who worked tirelessly within its confines and to the patients who sought solace and recovery within its walls.
Skedee Statue (Skedee)
In the tiny rural town of Skedee, Oklahoma, amidst stretches of open fields and farmhouses, stands an unusual monument – the Skedee Statue. This towering statue is also known as the Chief Bacon Rind Statue. It is an eerie and solitary remnant of the town’s more prosperous past.
The statue was erected in the 1920s to commemorate the relationship between the local Osage Indian Chief Bacon Rind and oil tycoon E.W. Marland. As the story goes, Marland successfully negotiated oil leases with Chief Bacon Rind, leading to significant prosperity for both the Osage tribe and Marland’s oil company.
The statue depicts Chief Bacon Rind standing tall, resplendent in his traditional Osage regalia, with Marland kneeling by his side. The monument was designed to immortalize the spirit of cooperation between the two and the resulting oil boom that left a lasting mark on Oklahoma’s history.
However, as the oil industry waned, Skedee’s fortunes dwindled. The town, once a bustling hub during the oil boom years, slowly declined. The statue, like the town, was largely forgotten and fell into disrepair.
How Things Look Today
Today, the Skedee Statue stands as a lone sentinel in an almost deserted landscape, a silent reminder of a time when the town was thriving. Despite the weathering and the passage of time, the statue retains a certain dignified aura, its intricate carvings and details testifying to the skill of its creators.
The statue can be found in a quiet corner of Skedee, surrounded by open fields and a handful of buildings. Visiting the statue offers a unique and poignant glimpse into the town’s past, as well as an opportunity to reflect on the complex interplay of cultural and economic forces that shaped the region’s history.
Despite its weathered appearance, the Skedee Statue stands as an enduring symbol of Skedee’s vibrant past and a compelling testament to the town’s rich cultural heritage.
Our Final Thoughts on Abandoned Places in Oklahoma
Those who are into urban exploration in the Oklahoma area should get comfortable with Oklahoma trespassing laws. Luckily, we have developed a massive guide to trespassing laws in all 50 states. For laws that specifically relate to Oklahoma, please click here.
For more about obtaining permission to explore abandoned places, check out our guide Explore Abandoned Buildings: How To Get Permission. Finally, if you are wanting to find more abandoned places in Oklahoma, check out my resource How To Find Abandoned Places With Google Maps.
- John Bourscheid, Killer Urbex