Farrar School’s haunting
- A tall apparition has been seen in the top floor office
- Doors are said to slam without explanation
- Loud knocks and bangs are often heard by visitors
- Another apparition is often seen around the boiler room
- Unexplained odors have appeared and disappeared in certain rooms
- Toys around the school are said to be moved and played with by unseen forces
- Disembodied voices and sounds of children playing are heard throughout the building
Farrar School’s History
In the early 1900s, Farrar grew in size as agriculture was increasingly industrialized and farm-heavy regions prospered prior to the Dust Bowl. A rail line constructed through the region in 1902-03, along with rapid expansion of nearby Des Moines, helped speed up development. In 1919, local farmer C.C. Geddes donated six acres of his farmland to the township for the foundation of a consolidated school in an attempt to combat the lack of adequate schoolhouses in rural Iowa.
The proposed building, and its $100,000 price tag, generated controversy in its time, but was constructed regardless of community members’ qualms. A dedication ceremony for the new school took place on April 1, 1922 and included an orchestra and banquet dinner. Citizens from miles around came to see the grand opening of the school and its numerous technological advancements, including boiler heating, electric lights, and indoor plumbing.
The End of Farrar School’s Tenure
Farrar School, both as a building and an institution, proved more resilient than many of its builders had likely realized. Even as the nation faced further economic downturns in the 1970s and 80s that hit family farms and farming communities hard, the little school continued with few stumbles.
But alas, every stretch of good luck eventually runs out, and by the early 2000s, a new schooling solution was needed. Much in the same way that previous one-room schoolhouses fell out of favor, demands for new technologies and services in school turned the tides against Farrar School.
In 2002, Farrar Elementary was consolidated into the Bondurant-Farrar Community School District, and the 80-year-old school building was set to close in favor of newer and larger facilities in Bondurant. On May 3, 2002, another grand ceremony was held, and much like the opening celebration, it included a banquet dinner and an orchestral performance. This day marked the finale of Farrar Elementary’s life as a functional school building. In the years that immediately followed, the old but sturdy building would sit dark and abandoned.
Farrar School Finds new Owners
But, this era of dormancy would not last for long. Jim and Nancy Oliver, with a unique interest in owning a building like Farrar, bought the elementary school building in 2006 with the hopes of converting it to their home. However, not long after they started their project, the two started to realize there was more to the Farrar School than an empty school house. From odd sounds to moving shadows, it started to seem like Farrar Elementary carried a few phantoms from its past life.
Spirits wandering the schoolhouse halls
Frequent reports included unfamiliar wandering figures and loudly slamming doors and, by the time of its closure, it was said to be an open secret amongst the students and staff that something supernatural had taken a liking to Farrar.
But, after closing its doors, the school’s hauntings sat in waiting for new visitors to experience their oddity. Luckily for the spirits of Farrar, the Olivers weren’t about to keep their odd encounters to themselves.
Farrar School’s Infamous Ghost Caught on Paper
Perhaps the most famous spirit at the Farrar School is the tall, dark shadow figure said to reside around the top-floor office. Spotted, and later sketched, by an early investigator of the school, the dark human figure has been seen by many investigators since then, and the drawn portrait of him hangs in the building today. Those who have encountered this spirit say his presence is domineering, like that of a disciplinarian principal.
The Spirits of Curious Children
Curiously, the sounds of children playing have also been heard and recorded around the old boiler space. And while the sounds of children talking and playing have been reported throughout the entire building, the boiler room certainly stands out as the oddest place the sounds are known to manifest.
Shocking sounds at Farrar Schoolhouse
The tales of slamming doors still ring true today, with many ghost hunters and tourists reporting the loud sounds of doors slamming and closed doors that weren’t originally closed. Beyond that, loud unexplained sounds are frequently encountered-everything from knocking to crashing noises.
Some have reported that these sounds respond intelligently to questions and statements from investigators.
Shocking scents at Farrar Schoolhouse
Additionally, some rooms are known for sudden and unexplained smells wafting through, both pleasant and unpleasant. Through the years of investigation, the reports of moving shadows have also continued, some even being photographed by visitors to the building.
Farrar School’s Haunted Reputation Continues to this day
While no one is exactly sure where the spirits at Farrar came from, some believe it is just a result of the building’s long history of use and its placement during the formative years of many peoples’ lives. Others have hypothesized that the cemetery across the road from the school contributes to the hauntings, though this has never been confirmed or corroborated and the cemetery is not open for investigators’ review. Regardless of the uncertain source of the haunts, the paranormal reputation around the Farrar School cannot be denied.