Hansford Elementary School in St. Albans, WV was built in 1919. After opening in 1920, the elementary school open until the Kanawha County Board of Education consolidated schools in 1977. Only a portion of the original school stands today. It is currently the Hansford Center, a senior center owned and operated by the city of St. Albans.


  • Hansford Elementary, 1980s
    Hansford Elementary, 1980s
  • Hansford Elementary, 1940s
    Hansford Elementary, 1940s
  • Present day Hansford Center
    Present day Hansford Center
  • Hansford students awaiting the arrival of President Jimmy Carter at the Kanawha Airport.
    Hansford students awaiting the arrival of President Jimmy Carter at the Kanawha Airport.
  • Hansford Elementary, 1940s
    Hansford Elementary, 1940s
  • Hansford School teachers: Elizabeth Turner, Silvia Miller, Bashaba White, Lenoah Burdette, Fritz McClung, Rachel Dame.
    Hansford School teachers: Elizabeth Turner, Silvia Miller, Bashaba White, Lenoah Burdette, Fritz McClung, Rachel Dame.

Hansford Elementary School was among the first schools in St. Albans, WV when it was built in 1919. The school was ready for occupancy in December that year, and by the next month, January of 1920, the school opened and accepted students under Miss Barbara White as the principal. The school initially had 135 students from grades one through six.

By 1930, the school population had increased enough that an additional room was required to house more than 200 students, and an addition to the building was made to serve their needs. Throughout the decade the school would see more and more students each year as the population of the surrounding areas had increased. By 1947, 418 students attended Hansford Elementary, with 350 students residing in city limits and the other 68 students being bused in from the Spring Hill area. There were now 12 teachers at the school, doubled from the 6 who taught at the school in 1934. In 1946, to accommodate the school's continuing growth, the Kanawha County Board of Education approved the purchase of an 8-room house adjacent to the lot the school was on.

From it's opening in 1920, the number of children attending the school had more than tripled. The growth would continue throughout the 1950s and the school sees a consistent growth of about 15 students a year. The consistent growth had been attributed to the growth of the chemical industry, and the growth of Chemical Valley resulted in the growth of the suburbs such as Saint Albans. West Virginia’s population peaked around this time, with a little over two million people living in West Virginia at the time of the 1950 census. However, the school would decline in population over the next two decades, highlighted by the 1975 to 1976 school years which saw only four students transfer into Hansford, while thirty-seven students transferred out.

In 1977, the Kanawha County Board of Education looked to close and consolidate schools across the county to save money. The Hansford Elementary was selected to be closed along with several others, and it was expected that the total savings would amount to a little over $243,000, with approximately $175,000 coming from shedding workers’ salaries and benefits. The closing of Hansford itself saved the Board $8,522. Hansford PTA President Patrick Hart presented a petition signed by 320 to the board asking for the school not to be closed but to no avail. The remaining students were assigned to other schools, most of which went to Central Elementary, but others went to Highlawn and Belvil as well. 

The school officially closed later in 1977, and the city of Saint Albans was quick to purchase the building from the Board. St. Albans ultimately purchased the building for $160,000, of which $145,000 came from a grant by the U.S. Office of HUD, the remaining funds came from the St. Albans Library Board. The City planned to open the building as the Hansford Community Center, which would accommodate a senior citizen’s center as well as youth recreations, which it still does today. In 1980 the Hansford Center would officially open and has served the community since.

Accessed May 04, 2017. http://www.hansfordcenter.com/.

St. Albans History. N.p.: St. Albans Historical Society, 1993. Print.

Gadd, Nanya. "Jefferson Closed Despite Protests." Charleston Daily Mail 19 Aug. 1977: 1. Print.

Michael, Kay. "Board of Education in Bargaining Row." Charleston Daily Mail 17 Sept. 1976: n. pag. Print.

"School Savings Expected." Charleston Gazette 1 Apr. 1977: 32. Print.

"School to Be Turned over to St. Albans." Charleston Gazette 2 Dec. 1977: 34. Print.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

http://www.stalbanshistory.com/school-photos.html

St. Albans Historical Society; http://www.wvculture.org/history/education/images/kanawha/kanawha.html

St. Albans Historical Society; http://www.wvculture.org/history/education/images/kanawha/kanawha.html