Latitude / Longitude:
35°0′4″N 96°48′33″W / 35.00111°N 96.80917°W / 35.00111 -96.80917
Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Sacred Heart is a small unincorporated community in Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma, United States. Established in 1879 by Father Isidore Robot as a Catholic mission on the old Pottawatomie reserve, it was originally named Sacred Heart Mission. The name was changed to Sacred Heart in 1888, shortly before the area was opened to settlement by non-Indians.
The community of Sacred Heart revolved around the Sacred Heart Mission. During the early 20th Century, many of its functions moved to other locations. High school and college education for boys moved to St. Gregory in Shawnee in 1915. The post office was closed in 1954. The mission site is located nine miles east of US 177 (Asher, Oklahoma) on SH 39, then one mile north on Sacred Heart Road. The community is now considered a ghost town.
The townsite contains a number of extant buildings and ruins. The most significant building on the site is the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, completed in 1914. It is located at the top of Bald Hill, represented as the highest point in Pottawatomie County. The church is an example of a restrained style of Gothic Revival, with a red tile roof and a stumpy front tower. Nearby are two cemeteries, one for the sisters and one for the abbey. Other buildings include one and two-story log houses dating to the late 1800s and a two-story sandstone bakery. The foundations of the school buildings and other structures are visible as well. A priest’s home, parish hall and maintenance building are non-contributing structures. The site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 15, 1983.
By 1910, the Benedictines went on from Sacred Heart to build St. Gregory’s College in Shawnee, OK. A large Tudor-Gothic structure, now Benedictine Hall of St. Gregory’s University, was under construction by 1913, opening its doors for high school and college students for its first term in 1915. An elementary school for boys continued at Sacred Heart until 1926. Sacred Heart remained as their motherhouse for many years, until its transfer to Mt. Saint Mary’s in Oklahoma City. The transfer of the educational and monastic endeavors to St. Gregory’s College was complete by the early 1930s. The Sisters of Mercy founded numerous educational and medical facilities across the state, including St. Mary’s Academy (now Mount St. Mary High School) and Mercy Health Center in Oklahoma City. Sacred Heart reverted to use as a priory after all other functions had moved to St. Gregory’s. The priory closed permanently in 1965. The church remains, but most other buildings have been demolished.