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The abandoned elementary school that’ll give you déjà vu of a survival horror video game.

FD McArthur Elementary School

F. D. McArthur Elementary School Classroom | Photo © 2018 Sugarbomb

Kaine and I watched in concern as a large dog walked out of a room about 20 feet in front of us, quickly followed by two more. The dogs stood still in the doorway, watching us and out of the corner of my eye I saw Kaine move his hand toward his hip. Internally, I tell myself to be ready to press a button when prompted because this legitimately seems like a Resident Evil cut-scene. Unfortunately, in real life, you only have one chance to pass the cut-scene or else you die for real and Kaine and I aren't that good at cut-scenes.

Luckily it seems that the group of dogs were strays instead of guard dogs or zombie Cerberus infected with the T-virus and they walked off down the hall and presumably outside through one of the many missing doors that line the back of the school. Welcome to F.D. McArthur.

FD McArthur Elementary School

F. D. McArthur Elementary School | Photo © 2018 Sugarbomb

F. D. McArthur Elementary School – originally named 17th Avenue School – was located across the street from Carraway Hospital in the Druid Hills neighborhood of Birmingham. The school was constructed in 1910 and its name was later changed to the F. D. McArthur School after a local attorney and president of the Birmingham Board of Education. The school's colors were green and white and their mascot was the Hornets. 

Incidentally, if you don't watch your step you might find yourself walking straight into a nest of hornets that have taken up residence in this abandoned schoolhouse.


An 8-room addition was added onto the school in 1941, designed by architects Warren, Knight & Davis, in order to accommodate students and replace classrooms that were lost when neighboring Barker Elementary School was destroyed by fire.

FD McArthur Elementary School

F. D. McArthur Elementary School Gym | Photo © 2018 Sugarbomb

The F. D. McArthur School closed in May of 1997 due to budget cuts and dwindling enrollment and has been left to rot ever since. Crumbling hallways and collapsed ceilings make up the remains of the old elementary school and text books can be found occasionally on the floor if one looks for them beneath the debris.

Various plans have been put forth for the old school building, but none of these projects were ever realized. In 2003, the City of Birmingham tried to sell the building to a church that planned to renovate it but the deal fell through. In 2008, a South Korean-owned firm was interested in purchasing the school as well as surrounding property, including Carraway Hospital, in order to renovate it into a nursing school for Korean students who wanted to work in the United States. This project, like the ones before it, never got off the ground and the future of the F. D. McArthur Elementary School, now over a century old, remains in limbo.

The property is currently for sale by the city, in case anyone is looking for a great location to host a zombie apocalypse. If not, pack your linear launchers and herbs anyway, because in downtown Birmingham, apocalypse finds you.

FD McArthur Elementary School

F. D. McArthur Elementary School | Photo © 2018 Sugarbomb

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