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Abandonment of Education

Updated on November 30, 2014

P.s. 186


Public School 186 in Harlem, NY

P.S. 186 was said to be abandoned after a series of violent incidents. Located at 523 West 145th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, the five-story, red bricked, and open courtyard school served its community for 72 years. Built in 1901 and opened in 1903 the school was shuttered in 1975 and has remained that way for nearly 4 decades. Built by C.B.J. Snyder and praised for its beautiful architecture, it has remained a destitute building, burying the hopes and dreams of generations.

Now owned by The Boys and Girls Club of Harlem since 1986, purchased for the low price of $215,000, it was promised that 85 percent of the useable floor space would be dedicated to nonprofit community use. However, 20 years later The Boys and Girls Club has failed to fulfill their end of the agreement. As of 2009 they had picked a developer with a proposal of $79 million to demolish and construct a 200,000 square-foot building where the once 100,000 square-foot school stood. This new building would offer a home for the club, inexpensive housing units, community and retail space, and possibly a new school.

EDIT: 11/29/2014

This school puzzled me for a lot of reasons and I couldn't rest not knowing the details of what or who caused the violence resulting in the closure of P.S. 186.

Riots, walk outs, and sit ins, this was the violence that caused the closing of a school? No, low funding, over crowding, and a council, refusing to provide necessary funds for proper maintenance, is what caused P.S. 186 to fall into ruin, it was clear there was no hope for P.S. 186. Harlem at this time was poverty stricken and crumbling all on its own. Housing was at the worst the city had seen and those who could leave left, leaving behind the poorest and least educated.

Holley High School


Holley High School New York

In the small, quaint village of Holley in the town of Murray in New York sits a historical landmark once known as the Holley High School. Located in the center of town it opened in 1931 and was closed in 1976 due to a growing population in need of larger facilities. Now it’s vandalized and going to waste because of a severe asbestos problem, that will cost more than $1 million to eradicate.


This quaint area with a population less than 2,000 people was incorporated in 1850 and originally named Saltport. But in honor of Myron Holley, a politician, who played a large part in the construction of the Erie Canal, it was renamed Holley.

Detroit Schools


Detroit Schools Detroit, Michigan

Detroit was once known for its close-knit communities and upwardly-aspiring suburbs, but as the 1980’s drew close and the economic circumstances changed for the worse roughly 30 schools feel into abandonment. Many with little to no notice. Now nature has taken back its lands, cities have emptied, and what building remain are soon to collapse. Once known as ‘the city of champions’ during a time of boom, now Detroit sits derelict with rising unemployment rates.

Israel Meyer Augustine Middle School


Israel Meyer Augustine Middle School New Orleans, LA

Originally built in 1912 under the name Samuel J. Peters Junior High School, it opened its 81,931 square-foot building up to children in 1913. Samuel Jarvis Peters (1801-1855) was honored by the school naming due to his efforts in founding the New Orleans Public School system with Horace Mann.

The school’s name was changed to Commercial High School before being renamed again. This time Israel Meyer Augustine Middle School after the first African American was elected as judge in Criminal District Court in Louisiana. But ever since 2005 when severe damaging winds and rains from Hurricane Katrina struck, it has been sitting silent and alone.

In 2009 the Federal Emergency Management Agency funded and stabilized the school, as it was deemed “that there are either contributing resources to historic districts that are listed in the National Register of Historic Places, or are individually eligible for NRHP listing.” A follow up assessment in 2012 determined the value of the building to be $2.1 million and needing $7-10 million in estimated renovation costs.


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