Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hext, Oklahoma

If you have followed this blog, you have found out that I love old buildings. It makes me sad to see beautiful old buildings allowed to crumble to the ground. I find old WPA structures of special interest. I travel around Western Oklahoma and photograph as many of the WPA projects as I can to have a record of such beautiful historical sites built 76 years ago. One sad site is at HEXT, OKLAHOMA where only the school buildings and a church show signs of past life. There are a couple other buildings, but it is mostly farm land now. Hext, Oklahoma is between Sayre and Erick on Historic Route 66. No longer listed on the state map, there is a exit sign off I-40 showing Hext.
Hext, Oklahoma School
During the Great Depression, the U.S. Congress in 1935 created the Works Progress Administration (WPA) to administer $5 billion for public works. The WPA's goal was to employ as many people as possible on projects that would provide long-term benefit to local communities. Ideally, workers would also receive on-the-job training to prepare them for further employment. The WPA made a significant impact on Oklahoma. Ultimately, of 166,000 Oklahomans certified for WPA jobs approximately 119,000 were employed at some point between 1935 and 1937. Many of these projects in Oklahoma are still being used today, but unfortunately a lot of them have just been left to decay through the years. Construction was the WPA's mainstay. Road building and improvement, especially farm-to-market roads, accounted for almost half its expenditures in Oklahoma. Hundreds of school buildings, numerous National Guard armories, drainage projects, dams and reservoirs, and a number of municipal buildings are a part of the WPA legacy. Wherever possible, construction used local materials, much of which was stone as a mainstay of WPA structures.
The Hext School was all fenced off so I could not get close enough to take a photo of the buildings behind this one. There are lots of trees grown up around the other buildings too. I would have loved to have peeked in the windows! There are so many interesting sites along Historic Route 66 and as you can see I get my "Kicks on Route 66."

1 comment:

  1. What an interesting post--I love your photographs. I'm fascinated by abandoned buildings and towns too. It just seems so strange to me that a place could just be... forgotten.

    This isn't WPA related, but have you seen the videos and pictures taken of the abandoned Six Flags in New Orleans? Very haunting.