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Albion State Normal School

Historical Sketch

Albion State Normal School was established by an Act of the Idaho Legislature in 1893 as a result of petitions from the people of the town of Albion. Land was donated to the state and volunteer labor from the town was used in constructing the first building.

Throughout the years, most of Albion School's students were drawn from the farms and small towns of the surrounding counties. From the school's inception, it was decided by the supporters that it should be strictly in the business of training interested and able persons to be teachers in Idaho's growing society. Nevertheless, many students used Albion as a "stepping stone" to other fields of endeavor or other schools.

Presidents of Albion State Normal School were:

F. A. Swanger (1894 - 1897)
J. C. Black (1897 - 1902)
Horace Ellis (1902 - 1904)
George A. Axline (1904 - 1920)
Clarence E. Bocock (1920 - 1932)
Raymond H. Snyder (1933 - 1951)

During the Depression of the 1930s enrollment dropped off significantly; state funding also dwindled. Albion Normal was able to hang on putting the students to work at school jobs, such as maintenance, construction, general services and food preparation.

After World War II, Albion Normal became a major educational magnet for returning servicemen and women. The momentum of this influx of students affected not only Albion Normal, but had far-reaching effects in changing several Idaho institutions of higher learning.

In 1946, the State of Idaho commissioned the George Peabody College for Teachers of Nashville, Tennessee, to survey the condition of the educational system in the state and to make recommendations for improvements. The Peabody Report recommended that Albion State Normal School be closed down, unless the school could greatly increase its enrollment within five years. In 1947, in an effort to more readily reflect its expanded mission, the name of the Albion State Normal School was changed to Southern Idaho College of Education when it was granted accreditation as a four-year institution.

During its fifty-seven years of operation, Albion State Normal School would produce 6460 teachers. One of these teachers would bring particular honor to the school in later years. Terrell H. Bell attended Albion Normal from 1940 to 1942 and served as United States Secretary of Education from 1981 to 1985 under the Reagan Administration.

By 1951, it was obvious that the small school was not able to fulfill its mandate from the State. Over the strong objections of the citizens of Albion, the school was closed in 1951 and its responsibilities were transferred to Idaho State College (now Idaho State University) in Pocatello.