Join fine art photographer Keith Dotson on a visit to the abandoned and collapsing old school in Cedarvale, New Mexico
I found this abandoned school just off the road, early in the morning as I was headed to another destination. Of course, I circled back and pulled off the road to investigate.
History of the Cedarvale School
Cedarvale was established as a farming community in 1908. Local farmers raised pinto beans, and at one point 500 people lived in the vicinity. The community suffered from the Great Depression and the dust bowl, losing population. The Post Office closed in 1990. (2)
Cedarvale School was begun in 1917 and completed in 1921. Additions were made by the WPA in the ’30s. In the 1940s the school had two teachers and 60 students (3). The 40s were also a period of devastating droughts. It closed in 1953 or maybe 1954, according to various sources.
While active, the building served as a community center, hosting Bingo games, quilting clubs, Christmas plays, and church services (3).
If you visit the Cedarvale School
If you find yourself at the old school in Cedarvale, be advised that I was there in winter, when risk of rattlesnake bites is low. In warmer times of year, this place would be at high-risk for rattlesnake encounters. I can imagine scorpions sheltering under the fallen wood on the ground too.
The building is clearly marked as No Trespassing, so it’s illegal and also extremely dangerous to walk inside. The walls are sketchy, but even worse, there’s a basement beneath those ruined floors, making the risk of falling through very real. As another blog post I read about the school advised, Cedarvale is a long way from any kind medical help. You don’t want to get hurt out there (2).
Making photographs of Cedarvale School built 1917 in New Mexico
Buy a fine art photograph of the classroom interior at Cedarvale School
Museum-quality black and white prints are available in a wide variety of sizes and prices. Click the photograph to go to my main website to learn more.
Be sure to watch the video above to see many close-up details inside the photograph.
Behind-the-scenes snapshots from this location
Below are a few smartphone photos from my sunrise stop in Cedarvale, New Mexico.
Thanks for reading!
- City of Dust. “No Rattlesnakes / No Pinto Beans: Cedarvale, NM”
- Dry Heat Photography. “Exploring The Ghost Town Of Cedarvale, New Mexico”
- KXNM. “Cedarvale School“
- Wikipedia. “Cedarvale, New Mexico”