Osage Boarding School

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Osage Indian Boarding School
Opened 1874
Building Style Cottage Plan
Location Pawhuska, OK
Alternate Names
  • Osage Indian Government School


Opened by the Federal Government January 1, 1874 near the Osage Agency Headquarters in Pawhuska, Oklahoma strictly for Osage children. (Indian Territory until 1907) This federal boarding school boasted an impressive, roughly T-shaped structure of local sandstone, standing four stories high from basement laundry to attic. The building was separated by partitions into two sets of classrooms, dining rooms, and dormitories - one for boys and one for girls. There was an extensive farm on the grounds, with pigs, milking cows, chickens, and a large vegetable garden which were all cared for by the children.

The Osage Boarding School provided an "experience in household arts and manual training" as well as training in English only, and basic academic instruction to both male and female students through the eighth grade. In addition to their work in the schoolroom, each child was given work in manual labor. Girls in baking, sewing, and music; boys in farming, animal care, and carpentry.

In January 1906 the capacity at the school was 100 boys, 80 girls, 180 children total; with an enrollment of 147. The school also recorded a hand-full of runaways a month, some being returned to the school shortly after.

By 1911 the school had added a boiler house, an extensive laundromat , and a power house.

The boys and girls of the Osage Boarding School played basketball, baseball, and football. The girls basketball team of the school attended and performed at the World's Fair, playing basketball and also playing classical musical instruments for the crowds.

The Osage Boarding School closed in December 1921 due to declining enrollment--the remaining pupils were transferred to public and private schools.