Abandoned Switzer School and West Jr. High in the West Side

Shots from Wednesday night 8/31 of the old Switzer School and West Junior High in the West Side neighborhood of Kansas City, as seen from the 20th and Summit side. Looking on the Google maps I see there’s a whole other side to it down the hill to the west I should check out too. Above the entryway on this side of the building it said Public Library.

According to this Pitch article from 2008…

 

Switzer School, West Junior High and Switzer Annex
1810 and 1829 Madison
Yuppies continue to renovate and build on the West Side, and here’s a future condominium complex in the making. Not far from Mexican bakeries and upscale bistros, this complex of 10 lots has the potential to be a Kansas City gem once again.
History: Switzer opened in 1881 and served as a middle school for the children of West Side immigrants, first Scandinavians and then Mexicans. Educators figured the kids wouldn’t go to high school, so Switzer offered classes from seventh through 10th grades. The oldest of the abandoned schools, it’s also one of the longest abandoned, having closed in the 1980s.
Square footage: 82,596
Price: $1.6 million

 

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16 replies
  1. Jesse Bright
    Jesse Bright says:

    Eric,

    Im an architecture student at KU and am working on a project this semester in which we are generating ideas for the renovation of West Switzer school. May I use some of your photos of the school for the project. I will happily give you credit.

    Thanks Jesse

    Reply
  2. Josie Terrazas Stamper
    Josie Terrazas Stamper says:

    I attended Switzer grade school then West jr. to the eighth grade. Both were great schools with the very best teachers. West jr. had a wonderful pool and the auditorium had the most beautiful velvet drapes. My best school memories are from these two schools. I had a good start in life in these schools.

    Reply
    • kimberly earl
      kimberly earl says:

      I am a former Switzer school student and I too as well remember those beautiful velvet drapes to ever touch the floor as well as remembering who all my teachers were oh and yes the memories of my classmates and seeing their faces are very surreal to me I even remember how the inside of Switzer looked as if it were last week

      Reply
  3. vickie murray-dydell
    vickie murray-dydell says:

    i started switzer in 1969 continue on until i started west junior high graduated in may of 1975 i really the old westside pennway plaza is where i lived grew up and think about often oh so many memories.

    Reply
  4. Johnnie
    Johnnie says:

    I attended Switzer grade school in the 60’s 3, 4, 5th and 6th grades to be exact. OMG I dont’t know what I thought, but I can’t believe it’s been abandonded. I’m planning to be in KC, MO. for a memoraial in Aug. wanted to drive by my old neighborhood and see what is going on. Amazing. Thank you for the blog and photos.

    Reply
  5. Rub Lawson
    Rub Lawson says:

    My dad and two brothers lived around the corner near 14th Broadway in 1942-44. My brother, James Joseph, attended Switzer in the
    5th grade. I was a 7th grader, Ruby Joseph, at nearby West Junior High. We loved this poor area of Kansas City and have always gone
    back when possible. What an exciting time to be there during the World War 2 years, The Power & Light Building so beautiful, the
    historic Union Station, and the Municipal Auditorium and Music Hall, I went to see President Truman, General Eisenhower, Doris Day,
    and others…and alone at age 13 and 14 without fear. Amazing childhood there so close to 12th & Broadway and the downtown area
    and all the bluster and patriotism. Now I am 86 and still remember and it makes me happy as these memories come floating back. Thank you so much for the great photography. Ruby Lawson

    Reply
    • Raeneal McCurrie Kalinka
      Raeneal McCurrie Kalinka says:

      I first attended Switzer in the 5th grade. Loved every minute of it, and loved all the friends on the West Side. Was in Switzer and West Junior until transferring to Manual in 1948. Ruby, James Joseph and I were in a lot of classes together. We were so lucky on the West Side where everyone knew every one else. Friends were life-long friends.
      Remember Dr. Cramer? He had a heart for the poor, and we were blessed with a swimming pool in West Junior. My cousins and I swam there every Saturday. Loved Ms McKenzie, the gym teacher. The pictures brought back memories of a wonderful time in my life.

      Reply
  6. Wanda
    Wanda says:

    Went there from Kindergarten to seventh grade. I remember drills where we were taken to the underground tunnel between the two schools. I thought they were tornado warning or fire drills at the time. Little did I know that we might have been preparing for an air attack. I remember seeing the yellow warning signs on the walls of the tunnel.

    Reply
    • Wanda
      Wanda says:

      Any of these ring a bell? Mrs. Paulson, We kids all walked her home after school, she was the best., oh so sweet. Mrs. Gerbur, She was pretty old when I got there but I thought she was cool. By then she was subbing. She taught my older brothers, Edward and James and spoke kindly of them since they were serving our country. I knew she was talking about my brothers as she walked around the room and even though she was praising them, I was keeping my head down .
      Mr. Dody,, Our music teacher. My sister, Catherine did a solo for him in one of the Christmas programs. He used to walk by my desk and try to hear me sing. I could sing but was so shy, I couldn’t get a word out of my mouth if I’d had a key to unlock it. Miss Duncan, red hair and a temper to match. She was my first teacher. Scared the crap out of me. She shook me until my teeth rattled. I don’t remember why. The gym teachers, Miss Miles and Miss Page. Ir has been a long time since I was there but I remember. Families I remember are, Singer, who owned the grocery store, Bayless, Clopp, (which I am proud to be one of) . Foust and Moser,. Time hasn’t taken my memories but darned if it isn’t dimmed after so long.

      Reply
      • Sharon
        Sharon says:

        Mr Dody- I still think of “No Man Is An Island” and ” sing from the diaphram”. I loved Ms Miles. Attended west in ’60 and ’61.

        Reply
  7. Frank
    Frank says:

    I started at Switzer in 1948 K – 6 and West Jr. 7 – 10 It was a great school back then. I had a great time and made a lot of friends also.

    Reply
  8. Sharon
    Sharon says:

    Remember the tunnel under the street that we used to go to playground at Franklin. Wonder if they destroyed it? Would so love to go back and check the old hood. Loved it.Poor but blessed!

    Reply

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