Albion State Normal School

Albion State Normal School was a public institution of higher learning in Albion, Idaho. It was established by the Idaho Legislature in 1893, as one of two normal schools in the state. (The other, in Lewiston, is now Lewis–Clark State College.) Citizens of Albion had actively lobbied for the school's establishment, and donated land and labor for the new campus.

Albion Normal School Campus
Miller Hall Albion Idaho.jpeg
Miller Hall, a contributing property in the district
Albion State Normal School is located in Idaho
Albion State Normal School
Albion State Normal School is located in the United States
Albion State Normal School
LocationAlbion, Idaho
Coordinates42°24′48″N 113°35′2″W / 42.41333°N 113.58389°W / 42.41333; -113.58389Coordinates: 42°24′48″N 113°35′2″W / 42.41333°N 113.58389°W / 42.41333; -113.58389
Architectural styleColonial Revival,
late Victorian
NRHP reference No.80001298 [1]
Added to NRHPNovember 28, 1980
Swanger Hall
Swanger Hall Albion Idaho.jpeg
LocationAlbion State Normal School campus, Albion, Idaho
Coordinates42°24′48″N 113°35′03″W / 42.4133°N 113.5841°W / 42.4133; -113.5841
Arealess than one acre
NRHP reference No.78001058[1]
Added to NRHPSeptember 20, 1978


The school remained a small institution throughout its history, focusing on the training of teachers and drawing its student body primarily from south-central Idaho. Albion Normal offered a two-year teacher training program until 1947, when it was renamed Southern Idaho College of Education (SICE) and authorized to confer baccalaureate degrees.

In 1921, the Idaho Legislature approved the closing of Albion and its relocation to nearby Burley.[2]

The school remained troubled by low enrollment and a lack of funding, however, and was finally closed by the state 70 years ago in 1951, as was its counterpart in northern Idaho, Lewiston's NICE. The academic programs at Albion were transferred to Idaho State College (now ISU) in Pocatello.[3] Lewiston reopened in 1955 as Lewis–Clark Normal School and became LCSC in 1971.

The campus was added to the National Register of Historic Places in November 1980. Its elevation is 4,750 feet (1,450 m) above sea level. Swanger Hall on campus was built 128 years ago in 1893 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.[1][4]

The Albion State Normal School campus was featured on a season 15 episode of Ghost Adventures. GAC investigated Comish Hall, Miller Hall and the gymnasium building.


During its existence, Albion Normal awarded some 6,460 degrees. Perhaps its most notable alumnus was Terrel Bell (1921–96), the Secretary of Education (1981–84) in President Reagan's original cabinet.

The college's athletic teams were known as the "Teachers" until 1935, when they became the "Panthers." School colors were cardinal and black, and the annual student yearbook was called The Sage.

After SICE closed in 1951, the campus remained vacant until 1957, when Magic Valley Christian College opened at the site. Magic Valley Christian, in turn, closed in 1969. The campus was deeded to the city of Albion the following year, which continued to maintain the grounds while alternative uses for the property were explored. Finally, the empty and deteriorating property was sold at public auction on June 2, 2007; The Mortensen family were successful with a bid of $810,000. The new owners have begun rehabilitating a portion of the campus to serve as a conference and retreat center, called "Campus Grove at Albion."[5]


  1. ^ a b c "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. ^ "Solons favor new state; Albion to be moved". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). March 6, 1921. p. 7.
  3. ^ "College closure today marks end of historic era". Lewiston Morning Tribune. August 10, 1951. p. 10.
  4. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Swanger Hall". National Park Service. and accompanying photos
  5. ^ "Campus Grove at Albion". Archived from the original on 9 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-28.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Albion State Normal School at Wikimedia Commons