St. Patrick's Mission School

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St. Patrick's Mission School
Opened 1872
Closed 1996
Current Status Closed
Building Style Cottage Plan
Location Anadarko, OK
Alternate Names
  • Anadarko Boarding School


Opened in 1889 as the St. Patrick's Mission School by the Catholic church. 1 of 12 such mission schools opened by the church, St. Patrick's was the first and in operation the longest; running concurrently until 1966. A project of the Benedictine monks at Sacred Heart in the Potawatomi Nation, the mission was directed by Father Isidore Ricklin. He built the original mission complex at Anadarko and then rebuilt it after a disastrous fire in 1909; replacing wood frame buildings with a large brick three-story building.

The school served Kiowa, Comanche and Apache children. The school had a sizable farm; enough to feed the children and teachers, as well as a peach and apple orchard, and grapes of great quality.

Between 1911 and 1933 St. Patrick's was an official federal Indian school called Anadarko Boarding School. Priests and sisters who staffed it held civil service positions under the Department of the Interior. The Superintendent at this time was Father Aloysius Hitta. In 1916 a Memorial Chapel was built on the grounds, with sloping ceilings inside painted by notable student artists who attended the school at the time.

In 1966 the school was renamed the [Riverside Indian School] or Riverside Government Indian School and it is currently still in operation as The Bureau of Indian Education’s largest and oldest off-reservation boarding school. Students who attend come from 75 different tribes and live at campus 8 months a year.