A school sits abandoned in a small town in rural Iowa, as it has for more than fifty years. Untouched by graffiti, the grand old structure has been eaten away by the ravages of Mother Nature. The sun touched the horizon behind a cottony layer of clouds as I drove into the small rural town of Clutier, Iowa
Clutier, Iowa is a neat little town of around 200 people, covering three-quarters of a square mile in the Salt Creek Valley region of Tama County. Founded in 1900 by William E. Brice, the town was largely settled by Czech immigrants. Clutier is still known for its Czech cuisine and summertime polka concerts as well as its annual Bohemian Plum Festival.
Clutier Public School was built in 1925 and in 1961, merged with Traer School to become Traer-Clutier. The consolidation of local school districts continued, and in 1965 Dinsdale Community School joined, forming North Tama County Community School District.
It was remarkably difficult to find much information on the history of the school, probably because of the large number of small-town schools in Iowa that closed due to consolidation.
After a lot of digging, I managed to find out that Clutier Public School had a very talented young women’s basketball team called The Chargin’ Czechs. From 1939 to 1948, they achieved a 201-18-1 record and took part in the state tournament six times. 1942 was an exceptional year for the Chargin’ Czechs. They were undefeated, winning 31 games and the Iowa Title. Clutier’s Betty Mundt was the state tournament’s top scorer that year, with 75 points in four games.
The team’s memory still lives on. In 2007, the mayor of Clutier proclaimed September 15 as Chargin’ Czech Day, and a monument was built in their honor at the town entrance. The Iowa Hall of Pride in Des Moines has dedicated part of its “Six-Girl Basketball in Iowa” display to the 1942 team, including a team photo, the championship trophy, a team uniform, and the white basketball that was used during their time.
The classrooms of the old school are now water-damaged, but surprisingly still intact, a stark contrast to Searsboro Consolidated School, which is in far worse shape. Despite the lack of graffiti, smashed windows are a sign that Clutier Public School has not been entirely spared from vandalism.
Attempts were made to cover some of the broken windows, but the effort was apparently abandoned some time ago.
A bed of moss now covers the carpeted floors of the old classrooms.
Small plants grow up from the mushy layer of the decaying carpet.
Rotting doors hang loosely from decaying frames. The drywall has fallen off in chunks, revealing sturdy brick walls.
Light fixtures still hang in a few rooms where ceiling tiles have not yet come loose.
A staircase stained from decades of flooding leads down to a spooky cafeteria.
The tiles have peeled up from the floor, forming a layer of brittle, curled rectangles.
The kitchen is bare, except for a stainless steel sink leaning against the wall.
The stunning photos of Abandoned Rural School of Clutier, Iowa were taken by Jim Sullivan. Jim Sullivan is a traveler, who shares his stories with followers. If you’d like to see more abandoned places in America, then check out our articles: