Atlas Obscura

Jacksonville’s Crumbling, Abandoned Elementary School

The auditorium at Annie Lytle Elementary.

Erin Murphy/CC by-SA 2.0

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Built in 1915, this gigantic schoolhouse was originally christened as Public School No. 4, but was renamed Annie Lytle Elementary in 1957 in honor of a former principal. Unfortunately, the school only got to live under its new name for a few years before it was shuttered and abandoned.

When the highway system was constructed in Jacksonville, Florida, in the 1950s, I-95 and I-10 intersected a mere hundred feet from Annie Lytle Elementary. The school became isolated and inconvenient to get to, and the sound of traffic would drown out classes on the second floor.

A hallway in Annie Lytle Elementary.

Erin Murphy/CC by-SA 2.0

It closed for good in 1960 and was used as storage space for Duval County for some time before being officially condemned. A fire in 1995 caused part of the roof to cave in, and now nature has taken over the building. The school was almost demolished in 1999 and turned into condominiums, but multiple historic societies pressured the county to designate it a historic landmark. Annie Lytle Elementary received this honor in 2000, and dedicated volunteers have attempted to keep the grounds neat in the hopes that the property will someday be bought and repurposed. But nearly two decades later the school remains derelict and empty aside from the urban explorers who trespass there.

As with any abandoned place, the school has its fair share of ghost stories (everything from psychotic janitors to schoolkids who perished in a boiler room explosion). Jacksonville police assure that all crimes in the building occurred after its abandonment, in particular graffiti and squatting.

Contributed by Atlas Obscura contributor torifurukawa2014

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