26 responses

  1. Vicki Su
    August 5, 2012

    This school was a junior high school after the consolidation of Elkhorn and Northfork High Schools. I went to 7th grade here.

  2. Betty Cunningham
    September 5, 2012

    I graduated from EHS in 1951 – so many wonderful memories. We do have an Alumni Association and just had our 32nd annual reunion……….classmates attended from all over the country. We had the best teachers and so many activities!

  3. Hilda Lemon Harper
    January 9, 2013

    I, too, went to this school, transferred with the student body to Northfork High School which became Northfork-Elkhorn High, and graduated there. Looking at the textbooks scattered on the floor in one picture, I would say there must have been classes in that building long after we left. I have taught school for a number of years in another state and remember those texts as an adoption long after 1960. Therefore…..I would think this building was used after that date.

  4. Shirley Mae Ofsa
    January 10, 2013

    There were classes after Elkhorn High combined with Northfork in 1953. It became Elkhorn-Northfork Jr. High and then Switchback Grade School. I graduated here in 1950. It is such a shame the Board left it to fall in like this. It was a beautiful building at one time.

  5. Carol Fletcher
    January 10, 2013

    I lived across HiWay 52 and went to school there until we were transferred to Northfork(Northfork-Elkhorn High). My younger sister finished Jr High (Elkhorn-Northfork) there around 1965/1966.

  6. Carol Fletcher
    January 10, 2013

    I lived across HiWay 52 and went to school there until we were transferred to Northfork(Northfork-Elkhorn High). My younger sister finished Jr High (Elkhorn-Northfork) there around 1965/1966.

  7. Bob McMullen
    February 10, 2013

    Absolutely amazing photography. In the fall I visited Nuttallburg. Excellent site. I wanted to visit Coalwood and Welch, but the sheer level of poverty evident in the photos is disturbing. And there does not seem to be any solution, certainly coal mining will not save the economy.

  8. Dori Smith
    February 20, 2013

    my father edsel ford tabor graduated in this school in 1940/41? if anyone has any photos pls email them to me please….ty.

  9. Dori Smith
    February 20, 2013


  10. Kayla Fuller
    June 23, 2013

    Travis these are amazing pictures! I randomly found the pics of this school when I was browsing things about West Virginia on Pinterest. I actually went to this school in the early 90’s when it was Switchback Elementary School like Jamey said. I pass it everytime I travel back to west Virginia to visit family and I’ve always wanted to pull over and walk around. Thank you so much for those pictures!!

  11. Doug
    August 1, 2013

    Travis, nice shots, I don’t know for sure what year it closed, but I would guess at the end of the school year in 2004. There was writing on some of the chalkboards a few years ago that clearly was not graffiti, it was written by a teacher, the typical kind of things that would be written by a teacher at year’s end (awards, finals, etc..)
    Also, I asked an old guy who lived nearby how long it had been closed, and he said 6 or 7 years, he wasn’t sure. This was in 2011, which makes sense. happened upon this place completely by accident, very cool

  12. Fred M. Powers
    October 6, 2013

    I am a retired coal miner (Keystone # 1 ) and school teacher having taught 25 years in McDowell & Mercer Counties (20 in McDowell). I transferred to Switchback Elem. in Feb 2000 from Northfork Middle School. This school was closed in June 2004 & the students transferred to Kimball Elem. I loved working there. Mrs. Brenda Owens (one year) & John Nofsinger (three years) were my principals there. I currently do coal mining storytelling in miner’s garb & black face for various audiences. Just want to tell the miner’s story.

  13. Amy Gentry
    December 14, 2013

    This school was used as an elementary school long after that. I started kindergarten there in 1990 and went thru 1997 before going to Northfork Middle School.

  14. sepress gilkerson
    December 18, 2013

    i have lived and worked here all my life and since 2012this is the worst times i have seen since ive been working the last 27 years would love to see coal come back as it was 10 years ago because a lot of people have lost their jobs and more and more of us are are going to have to find other jobs i would love to stay and finish my carear here as a coal miner -plant operator but the future here is gone may god bless us all that has lost our jobs and we do good

  15. Thomas Lassak
    June 1, 2014

    I grew up in Welch, WV. From 1950 – 1970, later moved back from 1976 until 1987. I was working in the funeral business and after U S Steel and all the other large coal mines decided to close in 82 and 83. I knew it was time to leave so I stayed until 87 and things had really began to become depressing. My father taught school at Elkhorn High School unti it closed then went to Welch High School. People had ask me how come I did not own a funeral home but I was not financially able and I would have been trapped in a very depressing area. I really appreciate all the photos and I have not been back since 2000 when my father died. I retired after 47 years in the funeral business, I had set my benchmark of 50 years so my 47 was my 50. I live in Murfreesboro, TN., to be near family. Thanks again for taking the photos and if you would go back now you would find it more depressing

  16. Erin
    December 8, 2015

    It was Switchback Elementary School. My dad was a teacher there in the late 80s early 90s.

  17. jacqueline cunningham
    January 11, 2016

    I went school hear started in sec grade loved the teachers an staff good memories so any of my classmates from 1990-1997 luv ya

  18. Ruth
    February 10, 2016

    I actually went to school here until 1995. It was called switchback elementary after it was the high school.

  19. Dave Kosche
    February 22, 2016

    I’m on sort of a silly quest. I’m trying to locate Imogene (Midgi) Hatfield (maiden name). She and another gal, Carol Belcher, and an adult couple spent the summer of 1953 or 1954 in Snohomish, WA working crops. She and I became good friends and I lost contact with her many years ago. I have a school photo of her labeled Northfork Elkhorn High 1955 – 1956. Carol was a year older then Imogene and Carol and I were shirt tail relatives as my mom’s maiden name was Belcher and her family moved out here( Washington State) from Bluefield, WV about 1912. If anyone can help me out I would certainly appreciate it.


  20. Suzanne Hinson
    October 7, 2016

    My mom grew up here! She’s 87 now

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