Site of Babbs Switch Tragic School Fire
On Dec. 24, 1924 35 people lost their lives while attending a Christmas party in a one room frame school house. The fire was started by a candle on a Christmas tree. A school building was built here in memorial and a model to point the way to safer county schools the nation over. The school was discontinued in 1943. Was dismantled and sold.
In Memory of
W. T. Curtis, Mrs. W. T, Curtis, Edna Curtis, Francis Curtis, T. C. Coffey, Mrs. T. C. Coffey, Maudie Coffey, Orley Coffey, Dow Bowling, Maggie Bowling, Edward Bowling, William Biggers, Walter Biggers, John Duke, John Hebeasperger,Mrs. Rhoda Bradshaw, Mattie Mae Bryan, Earnest Peterson, Obil Peck, Ciryl Peck, Paul Peck, Vesta Jackson, Alice Noah, Lee Reville, Lillie Edna Reville, J. T. Goforth, J. B. Goforth, Juanita Stephenson, Mary Juanita Stephenson, Gladys Clements, Mary Lois Clements, Miss Isabell McNutt and the teacher Florence (Terry) Hill
Babbs Memorial School 1925
4 miles south of intersection state highway 9 and U.S. 183 (South of Hobart, Oklahoma)
Memorial is also a Picnic Area.
"Information in this article was gathered from a variety of sources; Oklahoma Historical Society, Hobart Democrat Chief, Daily Oklahoman, and articles of interviews of some survivors."
"In the fall of 1902, the school house was built on the southwest corner of the land owned by Edward E. Christain. It was a one room building 18 x 24 feet and all 8 grades were taught there. J. T. West hauled native stone for the foundation. In 1910 the building was enlarged to accommadate Sunday School meetings and community gatherings."
"On Christmas Eve 1924, the teacher, Mrs. Florence Terry Hill, greeted her pupils and parents as they arrived at the schoolhouse for the Christmas program. The school looked good. It was freshly painted (with paint incorporating turpentine thinner). New steel grates had been installed over the windows to prevent any more breakage as had occurred in the recent windstorm. The tree was trimmed with red and green tallow candles, giving a warmth to the room that contrasted with the cold night and light snow outdoors."
The Babbs Switch Story—Darleen Bailey Beard
Babbs Switch, Oklahoma was a real town, and a thriving community until a fire in its one-room schoolhouse claimed the lives of thirty-six people on Christmas Eve, 1924. Based on this true story that made national headlines, Bailey Beard’s novel is also filled with warmth and humor, and told in the sparkling voice of a spunky, irreverent heroine. The author is a frequent speaker to young people, and lives in Norman with her two children, Spencer and Karalee. [Amazon Preview]
"Hobart - Short Grass Playhouse/ Fire Dept. - Reports of seeing a man with his face half burned has been seen, and of a painting in the Short Grass playhouse of a girl has been painted over several times and it keeps coming back. There are a lot of other stories about this place."