This gallery showcases a collection of abandoned schools located throughout West Virginia.
Abandoned schools in West Virginia stand as reminders of the state’s evolving educational and social history. These neglected buildings, scattered across both rural and urban settings, once buzzed with the energy of learning and community gathering. Now, they are silent, their empty classrooms and corridors echoing the changes in population, economic shifts, and educational reforms that have swept through the region.
Dry Fork School
The Dry Fork School in the Dry Fork community of Randolph County, built prior to 1940, functioned as a school. It was later used for storage and then abandoned until it was demolished in 2022.
The Krenn School, a typical one-room country school from 1897, is located in the village of St. Clara at the junction of County Routes 29 and 66 in Doddridge County, West Virginia. Constructed using local labor and materials, it was built on land acquired from John and Adeline Krenn by the Cove District Board of Education in December 1896 and opened in the fall of 1897. 3 The school, a one-story, 35 feet by 24 feet rectangular building, featured a frame structure of native oak and yellow poplar clapboarding, with a two-tier cut sandstone foundation and a corrugated metal low-pitched roof. It has four 2/2 windows and a single entrance door with a transom. Inside, there was tongue-and-groove woodwork and a central coal-burning stove, supplemented by a natural gas stove after 1920.
In 1922, the building underwent significant upgrades to meet modern standards for rural elementary schools. 3 This included relocating the four east wall windows to the southern side for better lighting, adding a fifth window, and extending the building’s length by 5.5 feet. Cloak rooms were added on each side of the entrance, leading to a small hallway. The renovation also replaced the original foundation with a sturdier cut sandstone base.
In the late 1930s, the Doddridge County Board of Education allowed the St. Clara Organized Community to use the building for monthly meetings. 3 The school remained operational until Spring 1942, closing due to low enrollment.
The Krenn School’s preservation became a concern in 1988 when the Doddridge County Board of Education considered selling it at public auction due to liability risks and insurance costs. 3 However, cooperation with the Doddridge County Historical Society, aiming to preserve this last turn-of-the-century one-room school in the county, led to the board putting the sale on hold.
Lenore Junior High School
Lenore Junior High School is a former school in Lenore, West Virginia. Lenore, along with Kermit’s high school, were merged to form Tug Valley High School in 1987.
Prosperity School, a two-room schoolhouse in Mercer County, West Virginia, was maintained as an eight-grade facility with a single teacher in 1932, primarily due to poor road conditions. 2 In October 1961, with an enrollment of 41 students, school officials requested the county Board of Education to install indoor toilets, central heating, and an electric water pump. 1 The Board consented to provide the heating and water systems, but lacked the funds to construct indoor restroom facilities.
The Wayne School in Wayne, West Virginia, has since been renovated into apartments.
- “Mercer Board Bans Selling By Students.” Post-Herald and Register [Beckley], 15 Oct. 1961, p. 18.
- An Administrative Survey of Public Schools of Mercer County, West Virginia. West Virginia State Dept. of Education, 1932, p. 41.
- Wysong, Hazel G. and Alton Childers “Krenn School.” National Register of Historic Places, 5 Dec. 1988.