Back in the Spring of 2008 I had saw a news story on WCYB about the relocation of the entire town of Grundy, Virginia. I hopped in my Celica and decided I had to see that project. Somehow I ended up driving and driving and driving and ended up in Welch, West Virginia. I fell in love, I guess its one of my quirks. I truly love the off-beat places and McDowell County is at the top of that list. Over the past 10 years I have explored, at last count 12 abandoned schools, most of which have been demolished. I was amazed. There was abandoned greatness everywhere. So much history was right there ready for me to discover. I fell in love with Welch and McDowell County that day and that love affair is still going strong. I remember in 2008 Welch, which is the county seat had a Big Lots store and a Magic Mart store. A few miles away there was a Walmart Super Center. In the 1950’s McDowell County had over 100,000 residents. Today, it sits at 18,546.
Over the last 10 years I have made at least 8 visits exploring and documenting.
I’ve even made a few friends from the area. Is it because I see commonalities between McDowell County and my own home town? Granted Harlan County hasnt seen the decline that McDowell has, we have still had our stumbles. A lot of my documentation has been sad happenings. From the old Iaeger High School demolition (which I still use to this day photos from as my cover photo on Facebook) To the fire at Big Creek High School, the closing of the Walmart store in Kimball, to the reworked riverfront in downtown Welch. Today another sad chapter has come to pass for the town and county. The town’s Magic Mart closed it’s doors for the last time.
Since my first visit in 2008 all of the mass merchandise discount stores (Big Lots, Walmart and now Magic Mart) have all closed their doors in McDowell County. There are parts of the county that are at least 40-50 miles away from their nearest get everything store I feel such sadness for this county and its people. At the same time I feel a weird sense of being grateful in that I found McDowell County and I have been able to document this area and its rich history.
The Marianne is a beautiful 1940s Art Deco, single-screen movie theater located in the Northern Kentucky Cincinnati suburb of Bellvue.
The Marianne opened for business on March 1, 1942. It has a seating capacity of 542.
By the mid 1990s the Marianne had began running second run movies and eventually closed for business. The last movie to play in the theater was the 1998 Tommy Lee Jones film “U.S. Marshals”
In February of 2018 developers announced that the theater would be restored and turned into an event center for live concerts and other performances.
Since starting this blog in 2014, I have covered nearly 80 abandoned school buildings in 9 states stretching from Eastern North Carolina to the banks of the Mississippi River in Cairo, Illinois. Today, while researching for my newest entry covering the Sadieville School in northern Scott County, (Kentucky), I came across something I had yet to find in the reason a school was closed. Enrollment was getting too high. 90% of the schools I have visited have been closed due to the opposite, declining enrollment.
I always thought it was rather odd that a school in the fastest growing county in the entire state would be closed and abandoned. In 1984-85 Sadieville was home to 150 students. By 1988 that number had jumped to 245.
The Scott County School System decided to build a larger, more modern facility to serve northern Scott County located about 5 miles south of Sadieville. Construction was swift and by March 5, 1990, Sadieville was closed and it’s students and staff had moved to their new school, Northern Elementary.
The last 28 years have not been kind to the campus. The grounds are overgrown, the front of the building is almost covered by brush and trees that have popped up. But considering the building is closing in on being 100 years old, its still standing and relatively structurally sound once you take out of consideration the roof and especially the gymnasium area. The school has obviously been used as a storage building but has now fallen victim to faulty ceilings and vandalism.
I dont know if there were any windows that were still fully intact.