Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Huntington's Haunted State Industrial School for Colored Girls


 Located directly behind the Route 60 Walmart in Huntington, the former State Industrial School for Colored Girls was built in 1924 on property owned by the WV Colored Children's Home.  The facility was the first in the state for African American girls.  Previously, delinquent girls of color were sent to the state industrial school at Salem.  However, this presented a problem, as at the time, white girls and black girls were required to be housed separately and attend classes at different times. Therefore, a separate facility was the most logical solution.  Fannie Cobb Carter, Charleston native, and graduate of Storer College, was the school's first Superintendent.

In 1956, both the WV Colored Children's Home and the Industrial Home for Colored Girls were officially closed as a result of the groundbreaking Brown v. Board of Education court case, and many of the girls were transferred to other facilities in the state.  By 1961, the entire property was sold to Marshall University.  The Colored Children's Home was used as married student housing under the University Heights name, and the industrial school was used off and on for housing and other things.

There are plenty of legends surrounding both buildings, but most of the legends center on the Industrial School, as so little is actually known about its operation and history.   Consequently, it is this building that gets the most haunted reputation.  Locals tell tales of the building being used as a home for pregnant girls, where many abortions took place.  While there were likely some pregnant girls who did attend the school, I have found nothing to verify that abortions were commonplace and conducted on the facility grounds.  In any event, visitors to the now unoccupied building have reported hearing screaming, crying, and paranormal activity of nearly every type.  Many people who believe they are sensitive to the paranormal report that there is an overwhelming sense of evil surrounding the building.

After hearing the various reports,  a member of HPIR visited the grounds and captured a weird image on film.  We then decided as a group to hold  a mini-investigation of the outside property.  It was an uneventful night, until a concerned neighbor called the authorities!  However, it was a blessing in disguise, as one of the officers that responded shared plenty of his own experiences with us, and even shared a little something strange that had happened earlier while on a call to a possible break-in at the facility, where a window was witnessed seemingly shutting by itself. He and the other officers also related the idea that there had been several times in the past where they had been called to a "break-in" at the old building, only to chase someone (or something!) through the building that wasn't actually there.



Note: The Industrial School for Colored Boys was located in Lakin, near Pt. Pleasant.  Read about the ghosts of Lakin, also at Theresa's Haunted History!

*This location has been torn down as of March 2010*

7 comments:

  1. The first link ("here") isn't working :(

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    1. Thanks! We switched over the HPIR site, and I'm still slowly fixing my links to coincide with the change. It should work now.

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    2. Strike that; since the location has been torn down, we've removed that investigation page. I'll edit to reflect.

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  2. Aww, that's a disappointment. I was hoping to read what y'all had experienced. I went to Marshall & many friends who grew up in Huntington have told me stories about this place. Mostly about how Marshall ceased housing students there due to the overwhelming complaints about paranormal happenings. Not sure how true that is.. Until recently, I worked in the criminal justice field & am friends with many of the troopers at the Huntington detachment. I'll ask them if they've had any experiences with this place & post if I find out anything interesting.

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    1. That'd be awesome. I haven't heard too much about any activity experienced by students, but the officer pictured above was kind enough to tell us about HIS experience and the experiences of several others who had been called out to that location and witnessed what they thought was something paranormal. Unfortunately, we never did get cleared to go inside before it was torn down, and our outdoor investigation didn't really produce anything.

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  3. My new middle school is gonna be where this place was.

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    1. It's a shame they had to destroy this wonderfully historic location and I wonder if there will be any rumors of the new school being haunted once it opens up. Feel free to let us know if you hear anything like that!

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