History from 1909-1954
Editor's Note: Rosemary M. Clendenin wrote
this capsule history of St. Albans High School in 1986
updated Annual for the SAHS class of "50".
The city of St. Albans, like other towns in
the Kanawha Valley, was a separate school district with its own
school board and superintendent. St. Albans and its schools were in
the Jefferson District but did accept tuition students from other
independent school districts. It was not until 1933 that all of the
schools in the Kanawha Valley came under the jurisdiction of a
single school board, the Kanawha County Board of Education.
In 1909, W. W. Trent started teaching ninth
grade classes in a room at the Central Grade School, which was
located on Sixth Avenue and Third Street. Enrollment for those first
upper level classes was somewhere between 25 and 30 pupils. Four
years after those upper level classes began, in 1913, the very first
St. Albans High School was built. It was a six room brick structure
located behind Central Grade School facing Third Street. There was a
faculty of five and the curriculum included French, typing, and
training in the Manual Arts. In 1916, a class of 12 students
received diplomas and became the first graduates of St. Albans High
Student enrollment increased rapidly
following World War I, and in 1924 a new high school building was
erected on Kanawha Terrace and Lee Street to accommodate the larger
student body. The new high school building was a fourteen room brick
structure which cost $90,000 to build. In 1927, the first addition
was added to the new school, a $20,000 gymnasium so Physical
Education could be included in the curriculum. Four rooms were added
in 1933, and the last permanent addition to the original structure
was in 1939 with fourteen classrooms and the auditorium. It was also
during the 1939 school term that St. Albans High became a six year
school with grades 7 through 12.
The "new" and present high school
building was completed in 1954 on Kanawha Terrace and Hudson Street,
12 blocks east of the "old" high school. The total cost of
the new building, including the furnishings, was $1,002,966.00.
Additions have been made to the original building, in the years of
1959 and 1966. With the move into the new facility, the high school,
once again, became a three year high school and the building on
Kanawha Terrace and Lee Street became the St. Albans Junior High
School. The graduating class of 1955 was the first class to graduate
from the present building; they were the 46th. class of St. Albans
graduates and 199 class members received diplomas. Total school
enrollment that first year in the present building was 802 students.
Peak enrollment for St. Albans High School
was in the year of 1971 when the high school was home to 1700
students. The single largest graduation class was 1974 when 620
seniors received diplomas.
St. Albans High School has always been and remains a proud
institution of the city. This capsule history of the school
parallels the growth and change of not only the high school but also
the city. Community schools are a reflection of the constant changes
that occur in every area of the community, from population shifts to
changes in social attitudes, values, and more.