Postcard courtesy James E. Casto

Constructed in 1917, the Enslow Middle School building has not been used since 2013. School officials would like to demolish the building and use it as the site of a new Highlawn Elementary School.

Editor's note: This is the 178th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.

HUNTINGTON - In its 96-year history, Enslow Middle School served thousands of youngsters in its East Huntington neighborhood.

Originally called Enslow Junior High, the school at 2613 Collis Ave. opened in 1917 and was named for Alice Blanche Enslow, a teacher who was killed in a horrific elevator accident at Huntington High School earlier in the year.

The 56-year-old Enslow was badly injured when she fell from the elevator into the shaft below, a distance of about 16 feet. Rushed by ambulance to Guthrie Hospital, she died there about an hour later.

A veteran teacher, she had taught in Huntington's schools for 40 years and had been principal at Ensign Elementary until ill health forced her to step down.

The 24-classroom building cost $240,000 to construct. It became a middle school in 1989 and the following year became the first invitational school in West Virginia. (Invitational education is "a theory of practice designed to create a total school environment that intentionally summons people in schools to realize their relatively boundless potential.")

Enslow's building has not housed any classes since 2013 when the school was consolidated with Beverly Hills Middle School to create Huntington East Middle School. When it closed, Enslow had 252 students and a staff of 43.

The Cabell County Board of Education would like to demolish the Enslow building and use its site for construction of a new Highlawn Elementary.

However, the state School Building Authority last year rejected the school board's request for $6 million in state funding to help pay for the proposed new elementary. Thus, for the moment the project remains in limbo and the Enslow building remains vacant and unused.

Do you enjoy the "Lost Huntington" series?

"Lost Huntington: Volume 1" is a hardcover, full-color book of some of the city's lost landmarks. The book is likely to be of interest to anyone who enjoys history and loves Huntington.

Books are $29.95 plus tax, shipping and handling. To order, visit media.herald-dispatch.com/ecom/ or call 304-526-2720.


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