Alderson Baptist Academy and Junior College
Alderson, West Virginia
Both e-yearbook and Ancestry.com have digital copies of the 1924 Boardwalk, the school yearbook. History of Education in West Virginia has a history of the school to 1904. Abandoned.com has a photo essay on the school and the building.
Alderson Academy came about when the Baptist Association saw the need for a secondary school for its boys and girls. Alderson Academy opened in the fall of 1901. The Alderson family strongly supported the effort, with Emma Alderson serving as vice-principal for a number of years. History described the academy as "a home school," one that "seeks to surround its students continually with such influences as will implant and develop those intangible but indispensible graces that mark the nature and bearing of the true lady and gentleman."
In 1911 the Baptist Association took over the running of the school, and so it took the name of Alderson Baptist Academy. In 1918 after adding college-level classes, it added Junior College to its name.
The Boardwalk shows a student body of around 115--only 12 of whom were college students. Faculty totaled 18: six taught the typical academic courses for grades 9-14. Six were music or art teachers, three taught domestic or manual-training courses; two taught normal courses (new that year); one taught Bible.
Most students were members of either the YMCA or YWCA. The Ministerial Students Association had a membership of 14. More than a third of the student body were voice students, allowed the school to perform an operetta. Students in the expression program performed a senior play.
Other school activities included the fall hike, the Christmas party, the Mother Goose party, the Senior party and the Junior-Senior reception.
As enrollment increased, the school's indebtedness increased. When the Great Depression came, the Baptist Association determined not to try to support two higher education institutions in West Virginia and so merged Alderson Academy with Broaddus College at Philippi. That merged institution continues as Alderson-Broaddus University, located at Philippi.
Bricks and Mortar
Until 1922 ABA occupied a three-story frame building purchased from J. G. Alderson. Located on three acres of land, It contained both classrooms and girls' dormitory rooms. The grounds also included a boys dormitory and a gymnasium. In 1922 The school purchased 36 acres north of Alderson and built a modern neoclassical brick building with a front and two wings. Its size reflected the "high hopes" of the school according to the National Register application. One former student noted that the building featured "simply acres of oak flooring and solid oak doors and cornice mouldings, and a beautiful 2 story stained glass window on the central stairway."
The campus was used for a time by Armstrong College. After sitting empty, it was later used by Mountain State Christian High School from 1953 until the 1980's. It is now abandoned and deteriorating. The stained glass window (above, right)was taken to the Philippi campus of Alderson-Broaddus University and installed in Burbick Hall.
Entrance to the abandoned Alderson College building. Image courtesy of Gin Minsky https://minskysabandoned.com/2016/11/15/alderson-academy/. Accessed 2-13-2018
School colors: The seal in the stained glass window would suggest that they were blue and gold
Boardwalk shows football and basketball teams for 1923-24. The football team played a nine-game schedule, winning five games. Opponents included Marshall, Bluefield, Concord, New River State, Shenandoah Collegiate Institute, Allegheny Collegiate Institute, Staunton Deaf and Dumb School, Covington, and Beckley.
The Boardwalk also shows that women's basketball had been started at the school.