Did your school have a fire escape like this?

Fire escape at Diagonal School in Diagonal, Iowa.

Even though your old school may have had a fire escape like this, it’s doubtful that your school exists today. When I post photos of this fire escape, I usually get this response. “Look at the abandoned building”. But that is not the case. In fact, the building is still in use as well as the fire chute.

Location: 403 W 2nd St, Diagonal, IA 50845

The fire escape at Diagonal schools is still used today and starts on the 3rd floor.

It’s located in the town of Diagonal in Ringgold County, in south-central Iowa. Diagonal happens to be the only town in the entire world with the name Diagonal. I’ve visited a number of times and have always been impressed with the people from Diagonal. Our local school was wanting to start an archery program for our students and the coaches from Diagonal were a tremendous help to us. I remember our coaches telling our kids to spend plenty of money at their concession stand, as we owed them for the help that enabled our program to exist.

The fire escape starts in the library on the third floor. Over the years, I’ve heard stories of alumni who tell about the various pranks that involved its famous fire escape.

When Ed Wilson was smokin’ in the boy’s room

In fact, the fire escape was even featured on TV during WHO TV’s RVTV week. RVTV week is when they travel to various towns before the Iowa-Iowa State football game. In the skit, weatherman Ed Wilson is smoking in the bathroom and it sets off the fire alarm, sending everyone else to the library for an adventure down the fire chute. I searched for the video from WHO-TV, hoping to include it in the post, but I wasn’t able to find the video.

Sliding down the fire escape at Diagonal Schools. (ok, the school wasn’t open, so we had to climb up the chute part way to slide down, but I’m guessing we weren’t the first or the last person to do that.

Diagonal Schools 1914

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  1. Maurice Public School – Maurice, Sioux County, Iowa The silo-like tube was the fire escape attached to our school. It was removed years ago and is now located in the town park providing thrills to young and old.

    1. Thanks for sharing! I recently stopped by the fire escape slide in Maurice and I’m working on a post to feature it that will be out in the next month or so.