Still, with its original door intact, a lot has been built around what used to be Booker T. Washington Elementary School.
The school was built in 1926 to serve black school children in Phoenix, Ariz. In 1980, the school moved to a new location, leaving the original building abandoned but not forgotten by the African American community.
It also caught the eye of a local publication looking for a home office.
“In 1985, we actually entered a bidding war with a couple real estate contractors,” said Rachel Hill, Marketing Director of Phoenix New Times.
Phoenix New Times is a news outlet in Phoenix, covering everything from politics to food. The New Times won the bidding contest, which is good considering the alternative.
“We won against some real estate companies that planned to bulldoze it. And so it was cool for us to kinda keep that history alive and cultivate it,” said Hill.
Phoenix New Times turned the building into a hub for award-winning journalism, showcasing visually stunning magazine covers, and the annual “Best of Phoenix” awards that recently debuted as a television show on Your Phoenix CW.
Phoenix New Times has preserved a lot of the original school, using principal offices for actual offices and classrooms for workspaces. Even with the change, the history of Booker T. Washington remains intact.
“What’s really cool is because it’s a historic building, we have groups like boy scouts come and tour the grounds,” said Hill. “It’s just an awesome place to learn about some history.”
Upstairs, a boardroom named the “memorial room” is dedicated to the once black-only school. Covering the walls are pictures of the past school which include Booker T. Washington himself.
But there is another side to the old school that people working in the Phoenix New Times building will be quick to share.
Starting with unknown typing at night, the ghost stories have passed through almost all employees.
“There’s a desk in the corner over there and we all hear typing over there when there’s no one sitting over there,” said Therese Cilluffo, Brand Strategy Manager at Phoenix New Times.
The eeriest story comes from an empty hallway that leads to an elevator. In the hallway, there’s a window that overlooks the front entrance of the building, where people claim they’ve seen the image of a little boy staring out the window.
Phoenix New Times haven’t researched the claims of ghosts within the building. Ghost or not, if it weren’t for the New Times winning a bidding war for the building 33 years ago, Booker T. Washington and all the history, along with creepy ghost stories, may not exist at all.