Pauls Valley State School

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Pauls Valley State School
Established 1907
Opened 1908
Closed 2015
Current Status Closed
Building Style Cottage Plan
Location Pauls Valley, OK
Alternate Names
  • Pauls Valley State Hospital
  • Southern Oklahoma Resource Center


The Pauls Valley State School was established in 1907 as a state training school for boys. A year later construction began on a dormitory building, farm, and classrooms. The school focused on white boys aged 10-18 and used military discipline to correct the boys' behavior. Manual labor was performed by the boys such as farming and raising chickens. Over the years the school housed an average of 200 boys, and they would spend half their day in the classroom and the other half working the farm or other skills such as shoe-repair, engineering, printing, and laundering. Military drills were practiced for 30-minutes a day by all students.

In 1945, $45,000 was approved and appropriated by the State for two more buildings at the school: a detention and an observation home that would include a small dormitory, classroom, and a clinic; and a large dormitory meant to house 40 boys. The new dormitory became known as the "Honor Building", where boys could move after completing 3-months at the school with good record.

Boys were sentenced to the state school via the court system and for a myriad of reasons, ranging from petty theft to murder. In 1938, Daniel Van Horn, 15, and his 12 y/o accomplice were sentenced to 5 years at the training school for stealing $1.80 and a bicycle. Another boy, LE Goddard, was 12 y/o when he was sentenced to the training school for shooting and killing his 8 y/o cousin. He was first evaluated at the Eastern State Hospital for the Insane where he told officals "they were telling lies on me", but was determined to be sane with anger issues.

The training school was operated as such until converted to a state hospital for people with epilepsy in 1945 called Pauls Valley State Hospital, and then to a state facility for people with mental retardation in 1953. In 1992 Enid State School and Pauls Valley State School underwent another name change, and the two were renamed the Northern and Southern Oklahoma Resource Centers.

The Southern Oklahoma Resource Center (SORC) in Pauls Valley is a residential and habilitative facility, also classified as an intermediate care facility for persons with mental retardation (ICF/MR). The majority of the persons who live at SORC have severe or profound mental retardation as well as other disabling conditions. The primary mission is to provide services that enhance the development of each individual and to provide opportunities that promote personal growth and independence. The Oklahoma Human Services Commission announced in November, 2012 the state’s plans to close the Southern Oklahoma Resource Center. It was closed July 2015.


There is a small cemetery on the grounds of the Pauls Valley State School holding an undetermined number of grave sites. There are 36 markers with names identified. It is currently overgrown with markers hardly visible.