File photo/The Herald-Dispatch In 1931, the old Cross Roads School was named for Geneva Kent, a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch.

Editor's note: This is the 212th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.

HUNTINGTON - It's no secret that school officials and news reporters sometimes don't see eye to eye. But, believe it or not, the Huntington Independent School District once named one of its schools for a reporter.

On Oct. 23, 1931, the district school board unanimously voted to change the name of Cross Roads School, a small schoolhouse on Norway Avenue, to Geneva Kent School, honoring a Herald-Dispatch reporter named Geneva Kent.

It's not known when the Cross Roads School was built, but a 1919 school directory indicates it had two teachers that year - Sallie Spurlock and Mary Ada Wentz.

The board voted to rename the school in response to a request by the Cross Roads PTA. J.M. Simpson, the PTA president, told the board: "We are departing from precedent in wanting to name our school after a younger person, but we want someone whom our boys and girls know and admire."

The Herald-Dispatch Editor Jim Clendenin hailed the action, calling it a "well deserved recognition" of Geneva Kent's "faithful and conscientious service" in reporting on the community's schools.

In 1940, the school moved to a new building, located on Holley Avenue just off Norway, constructed with funding from a Depression-era federal public works program.

At the start of the 2015-16 school year, Geneva Kent and Peyton elementary schools were consolidated to form a new Explorer Academy. Peyton's pupils joined the students at Geneva Kent while necessary construction was done at the former Beverly Hills Middle School to convert it to the Explorer Academy.

Now that the Explorer Academy is open, both the Geneva Kent and Peyton buildings are vacant and unused. The Cabell County school board had indicated it plans to auction them off.


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"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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