McDowell County Little Vocational School


For the past 2 weeks since returning from my trip through McDowell County I have been searching every possible source I could find on the internet trying to identify this school to no avail.


Finally, tonight I broke down and messaged a couple of friends I have made from the area in an attempt to get an ID on the building and hopefully uncover some of its history.


One of the friends finally identified it as it was referred to locally as McDowell County “Little” Vocational School.


Apparently this building was last used as a vocational school for middle school students.


The building is located just outside of the southern reaches of the Welch City limits close to where Little Indian Creek flows on West Virginia State Route 16  just south of the McDowell County Career and Technical School which is still in operation today.


As I have searched the internet high and low in an attempt to identify this building I have uncovered a part of McDowell County history and that has lead me to believe that this was possibly first built and used as the African American Vocational School for McDowell County.


Today the building is in a sad state.  The roof has fallen in in several parts of the building.


And is apparently used for target practice frequently as this was dry and relatively new looking.


If I was guessing, this building has been closed and unused since the late 80s or early 90s.


And apparently this was a classroom.


A lot of the original woodwork has been damaged by water and weather at this point.


and nature has started to take over parts of several classrooms where the roof has caved in.



You have to appreciate this endearing tribute to the American Muscle Car.   For some reason, I feel like Earl Hickey has been in this building at some point.


Its sad that at least these old doors werent saved and refurbished for use else where.


Id say vandals have already stripped the building of any electrical wiring it may have had or anything of any value like that.


and it appears at least in this room a fire has been started at some point.






OHM’s Law is still proudly displayed in one classroom.


As you can see nature has also retaken all of the area in front of the building as the trek up to the front door was over grown and almost over taken by weeds and shrubs.


This was apparently the main hallway down the corridor of classrooms.


and the sign directing you to the office is still hanging in the entryway.






This was the main entrance to the school.  As you can see, this place has been abandoned for quite a while and nature is retaking the area.



Anyone who might have more information on this building and its uses throughout history please contact me or comment on this blog.  This building has really grabbed my attention and I just know there is a great story somewhere in its past just waiting to be told.


3 thoughts on “McDowell County Little Vocational School”

  1. I enjoyed your pictures. Growing up I was at many of those schools for games and such. My dad taught at the vocational school. I can remember the old vocational school a little bit. Thanks for the pictures.

  2. I always knew this building to be the Vocational School. Students enrolled in vocational ciriculum would leave the local area high schools they attended by bus and go half the school day here and would then be returned to their high schoos to finish the remainder of the day. Students from Iaeger, Mt. View, Northfork and Big Creek attended. I never knew it to be call the Little Vocational School.
    I have enjoyed reading your blog and looking through the pictures. It brought back a lot of memories.

  3. I was searching for a picture of the McDowell Vocational School in Welch when I came across these pictures. I attended the school during the summers and half days during my high school years 1962 to 1964. I took electrical shop taught by Mr. Rex Coon. I remember the poster of Ohms Law that was in our classroom and is in one of your pictures. I think I still have my graduation certificate from the school. Contact me for more info if you want to.

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