Sacred Heart Mission School
|Sacred Heart Mission School|
|Current Status||In Disrepair/Abandoned|
|Location||Pottawatomie County, OK/Sacred Heart ghost town|
In October 1876, Father Isidore Robot completed a deal with the Potawotami Indians for a tribal grant of land which included the current site of Sacred Heart Mission. On Sunday, May 13, 1877, the first Mass at Sacred Heart was celebrated. Sacred Heart as a township was not permanently occupied until June 7, 1877, which is regarded as the true founding date of the parish.
The Saint Mary's Academy was established in 1880 for the education of girls, along with a boarding school for boys, the Sacred Heart Institute. By 1884, there was a convent, a school for the girls, stables, employees' houses, blacksmith shop, tool house, carpenter shop, and a bakery-where the Sisters baked 500 French loaves each day. A model farm - with a great variety of orchards, gardens, vineyards, fields, herds of animals and every form of agriculture was developed. The farm had two main purposes: to supply food for the institution and to provide a model for the Indian boys to copy. The mission had its own publication, the Indian Advocate, which was published from 1888 to 1910 in the bakery building. In 1884 the Sacred Heart College was established, offering secondary and tertiary education for boys, followed by boys' elementary education in 1926.
On the night of January 15, 1901, a fire broke out in the dining room of the Indian Boys School and swept out of control. Before it was over the blaze had destroyed the monastery, boys' school, college, girls' school, convent, and the church. Historical news accounts report that no one was killed, but the entire mission was destroyed with the exception of a few small buildings. The bakery and the two-story log cabin are the only buildings that remain today. Temporary wooden buildings were set up to carry on the boys' school, while the Sisters of Mercy moved one-quarter of a mile southeast to create a new St. Mary's Academy. Mass was celebrated in a converted granary. The present church was begun in 1905, but was not completed until 1914.
Sacred Heart reverted to use as a priory after all other functions had moved to St. Gregory's. The priory closed permanently in 1965. The church remains, but most other buildings have been demolished. The site of the sacred Heart Church remains on the US Register of Historic Places.
There are many urban legends surrounding this abandoned site as it is now. Many locals believe that despite to the official history many children died in the 1901 fire and haunt the grounds to this day.