History 1909-1954

Editor's Note: Rosemary M. Clendenin wrote this capsule history of St. Albans High School in 1986
for an 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 School.

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.


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