A Photographic Study of All Things West Virginia

Clio School

An abandoned schoolhouse way back in the hills of West Virginia.  It would appear that memories are pretty much all that remain.

Clio, Roane County, WV


13 responses

  1. Pingback: Enough Brilliant Photography Links to Implode the Universe

  2. Love this, Mike! Great post. There are several layers of interest at work here beyond the prime subject of the building. I love how everything comes together to express your vision here, truly a top drawer post my friend!

    November 28, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    • Thanks Toad Hollow! Subsequent research shows that this former school was built in 1947-48, a glimpse can be seen in the photos here: http://www.wvroane.org/modules/myalbum/photo.php?lid=42

      November 28, 2012 at 11:34 pm

  3. Just thinking of those amount of pupil’s (and teacher’s) sweat having soaked into the structure. In the present state it looks not appealing at all, but on the other hand good schools can provide such wonderful starting points for a life!

    November 28, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    • Hey Markus, it probably would have been more diginified to tear the structure down than let it waste away. But then again did the Brits tear down Stonehenge?? No! 🙂

      November 28, 2012 at 3:13 pm

  4. I’ve seen a number of buildings like this around WV (including, I’m quite sure, this one though, I didn’t photograph it) and had no idea they had been schools. I don’t think school buildings in this design were ever built in the Northeast, though there were plenty in equally depressing institutional styles.

    November 28, 2012 at 9:15 am

    • Hey Carl, thanks for the comments. I have no direct knowledge that this building was a school, but I’ve seen others in a similar style around the state so I’m making a semi-educated assumption here. 🙂 Definitely institutional and dreary by any current standard, but probably a point of pride in the community when it was active.

      BTW I’m a big fan of your blog and visit it regulary, thanks for stopping by.

      November 28, 2012 at 11:41 am

    • Hey Carl, I searched the interwebs and turned up an old photo that shows a portion of the school in question:


      Interestingly, it was built immediately behind an older school building.

      November 28, 2012 at 12:00 pm

  5. There is something horribly depressing about this shot. And, I think it would have been depressing in its prime, especially if it was a school.

    November 28, 2012 at 2:22 am

    • Hey ehpem, thanks for the comments. Agreed on the depressing part- in the past there were lots of small schools that served small rural communtities statewide, but over time we’ve trended toward consolidating into larger more modern facilities. This is a great idea except for the fact that some kids have to ride the bus an hour or longer to get to school.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:11 am

      • I went to a lot of different schools, some of the small (like two rooms for 8 grades), some of them with many hundreds of students. And including a bus ride of an hour each way. With the right teacher a small school can work extremely well; with a mix of grades students can find their natural level and progress with a lot less pressure and of course they tend to be part of the community and local. But this concrete bunker, it’s hard to imagine a good atmosphere inside this one.

        November 28, 2012 at 11:38 am

      • This building reminds me very much of where I went to elementary school, it’s just quite a bit smaller. As a child I never gave it a second thought and assumed every kid in America attended a similar school. Looking back it was probably woefully inadequate in many ways, but I honestly don’t think the kids worry too much about such things.

        November 28, 2012 at 11:49 am

      • That is probably true. It is just something that happens in daily life. And, with a couple of exceptions, I really can’t remember the buildings I went to school in. The two room school for instance, where I went in grade 3, was in Scotland and I can remember the smelly freezing outdoor urinal, but not the inside of the school. But I have many good memories of what we learned there and the atmosphere in that school.

        November 28, 2012 at 11:52 am

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