Buffalo High School (1915-1998)
The Buffalo Creek community was home to some of the earliest schools in Wayne County. Originally referred to as Ceredo District High School, Buffalo High was the second high school in the county and its first rural one. The school opened in 1915 and shared space in the Central Graded School building. In 1929 a new brick building was built across the street to house the grade school. Buffalo High School closed in 1998 when it was consolidated with Vinson and Ceredo-Kenova High Schools to form Spring Valley High School. The building was demolished in 2019 after the Board of Education deemed it a threat to public safety.
Backstory and Context
In 1908, the Ceredo Independent School District bought four acres from William Edward Plymale to combine two older schools on Buffalo Creek. On this piece of property the county built a two story frame school with four rooms. The upstairs had one big room with a stage while the downstairs had three rooms. The building was completed in 1909 and named the Central Graded School. This was also a meeting place for the community because it was a central location for everyone. During this time the only high school in Wayne County was Ceredo-Kenova High School, which had been established in 1894. Any child who wanted secondary education would have to travel there for school.
The idea of having a one year high school in the Central Graded school building was conceived by Taylor Bascom McClure, a popular educator who had operated a private school in Wayne since 1882. The first thirty high school students enrolled in 1915. Knowing Mr. McClure was involved with the creation of the school drew many students and parents because of the great reputation he had with working in schools. Many students traveled from southern and central Wayne to attend a publicly funded school. Eventually so many students were attending the school a larger facility had to be built across the street from the old one in 1929. The new school was called Ceredo District High School, because at the time Wayne County was divided into multiple school districts instead of a single, countywide Board of Education; northern Wayne County had the Ceredo Independent School District. The new building was made out of brick, with ten classrooms, a library, and a cafeteria. The cost to build this school was $65,000. In 1933 the school was renamed Buffalo High School after the county unit system was established and the Ceredo District was replaced with the Wayne County Board of Education.
Buffalo High School had many sports teams; basketball, football, baseball, and cheerleading. They competed in many championships, and in 1992 Buffalo won the AA Football State Championship against Magnolia High School. The two schools faced off on a rainy evening at Laidley Field in Charleston. Magnolia was the first to score by kicking a 35 yard field goal leading the game 3-0. Later Magnolia gained three more points and then Buffalo scored 7-6 winning the championship. Buffalo was the first team in the state to win the championship by only doing plays that handed off the ball instead of throwing.
In 1998 the Board of Education decided to consolidate the three high schools in northern Wayne County, Buffalo High School, Vinson High School, and Ceredo-Kenova High School, into one large high school named Spring Valley. The former Buffalo High School building was used for a number of purposes over the following years; at one point a daycare center operated there. Gradually the building fell into disrepair and once it was left empty it fell prey to squatters and vandalism. In September 2019 the Wayne County Board of Education demolished the school for the safety of the surrounding schools and the local community. The old gym and the cafeteria were left intact for the community to use. During demolition of the building many locals took bricks from the rubble as mementos.
Thompson, Robert Michael. Historic Buffalo High School, Herald Dispatch. September 18th 2019. Accessed October 5th 2019. www.hearald-dispatch.com/wcn/wc_news/historic-buffalo-high-school-demolished/article_ab6b609a-281b-5c73-80cc-e5b2d372a263.html.
School History - Wayne County Historical Portal , Wayne county history portal. Accessed October 5th 2019. sites.google.com/site/waynecountyhistoryportal/artifact-2.
Suarez, Elizabeth. Alumni Feeling Bittersweet about Buffalo High School Demolition, Wsaz. September 6th 2019. Accessed October 15th 2019. www.wsaz.com/content/news/Buffalo-High-School-in-Wayne County-to-be-demolished--496037741.html.
Thompson, Robert Michael