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St. Stephen's Elementary School

This condemned institution, three stories of laid brick and mortar with imposing turrets and crosses that say it was part of Roman Catholic academia, has a sizable footprint in the Federal neighborhood. It also serves as the local forum for debate among Denver's Anarch populace.

Its main bulk taking up most of the block, the rest of the acreage is packed with smaller facilities that once supported it (trailers when additions weren't possible, a gymnasium, and even a parking lot with another across the street) all penned inside temporary fencing with signs for DiNapoli Construction and notices of imminent demolition. Upon closer inspection the dates on these notices have come and gone months earlier.

Most likely another victim of the construction industry's bust, the main school has many entrances. One for each side of the block, each with a large stone stairway one can just imagine children playing on in bygone days (falling on [chipping their teeth on]), and go ahead, look close: some graffiti may yet remain, some sign of life other than bird droppings, than the ruin and decay of time gone by.

Maintenance doors abound, yes, and the main entrances are still there too, bound shut with chain link and large padlocks, though perhaps the most simple and quiet means of ingress might be to kick through one of the boarded up windows that open up into a closed class rooms and offices, depending on which.

Decorations demonstrating letters, colors, shapes and occupations litter the walls, supplemented by seasons winter wonderland Christmas shapes and images that tell what time of year the school was finally shut down. The walls are molded from rain, probably from a leaky roof long forgotten.

The inner walls of each room is lined with security glass windows, the kind that in case a child should break them sharp panes wouldn't fall like guillotines. The hallway on the other side of the glass, and the classroom across the hall with similar windows, are all empty.

There is also, around 'back,' a playground with a swingset, though it is not immediately visible from the street. Not visible from the street at all unless one knows to look for it and has circled and circled: not the way the additions grow, have spread, expanded - like the playground is a secret. Abandoned relic. The saddest goddamn thing.

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