Unearth the Spooky Secrets of Farrar Elementary School, near Des Moines, IA

The Dawn of Farrar Elementary School

A striking monument to the past still stands in the heartland of Iowa in Maxwell near Des Moines. The Farrar Elementary School, constructed in 1921, opened its doors to eager students on April Fool’s Day, 1922.

In the presence of hundreds of citizens, the dedication ceremony filled the schoolhouse with the melodious tunes of an orchestra and the hearty laughter of a banquet.

Despite the skepticism of a few citizens who deemed the $100,000 building a “monument to the arrogance and vanity of the school board,” the school thrived. The boiler heating, electric lights, and indoor bathroom facilities – considered luxurious- witnessed the changing times.

A Schoolhouse No More

The Farrar Elementary School functioned as a K-12 institution for many years, later transforming into an elementary school. However, as the population in the surrounding area dwindled, the school’s role diminished until it finally closed its doors in 2002, ending 80 years of education and camaraderie.

The building sat abandoned for five years until its eerie silence was broken by new owners who breathed new life into its echoing halls.

The Haunted Halls of Farrar

Soon after its purchase, rumors about the school’s paranormal activity began to swirl. Now silent, the once bustling hallways and classrooms were filled with whispers of ghostly sightings and unexplained phenomena.

One of the key pieces of folklore regarding the Farrar Elementary School is the belief that the school holds not one but two portals to the spirit realm. It is thought that a former principal’s office on the third floor and the school’s auditorium are where these portals lie, allegedly allowing spirits to come and go through the school as they please​.

The Spirits Among Us

Many who have visited the school report encountering a variety of spirits. The most frequently sighted spirit is a shadow man, almost 7 feet tall, who is said to roam the building halls. Though his appearance might be foreboding, he is reportedly harmless​​.

Others claim to have seen the spirits of children throughout the school, characterized as quite naughty and playful, often giggling and interacting with visitors​.

Another spirit reported by visitors is described as a bit grumpy and unwelcoming. This spirit is believed to be a former caretaker of the school and is said to reside in the former boiler room, often seen sporting red eyes​​.

Reports of residual sounds of long-ago basketball games echoing through the school’s court have also been reported. Poltergeist activity, EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena), footstep sounds, and sightings of mists and apparitions are also common occurrences​.

A Paranormal Playground

Due to its spectral inhabitants, the Farrar Elementary School has become a destination for paranormal enthusiasts. Those brave enough can book a visit to conduct their overnight investigations.

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The building, empty of heating and cooling systems, can become extremely cold in winter and uncomfortably hot in summer. Regardless, many are eager to experience its paranormal activity firsthand, contributing to its reputation as one of the most haunted locations in Iowa.

In the Limelight

The Farrar Schoolhouse’s reputation has not gone unnoticed. The Discovery Channel’s “My Ghost Story” and “Ghost Stalkers,” Fox News, Lazor 103.3 Radio, the Des Moines Register, and various other platforms have all featured this mysterious location, further enhancing its fame.

The school’s intriguing history and chilling paranormal activity continue to draw visitors and media attention, solidifying its place in local legend.


The Farrar Elementary School, with its rich history and paranormal intrigue, continues to captivate those near and far. Its echoes of the past and spectral whispers create a haunting yet compelling narrative that resonates with the local community.

Whether you seek a brush with the paranormal or to relive memories within its historic walls, the Farrar Elementary School remains a uniquely intriguing destination.

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