CAIRO, W.Va. (WBOY) — If you grew up around Ritchie County in or before the 1970s, Cairo High School (CHS) might ring a bell to you. The building that once housed the Cairo Pharaohs is still standing to this day, leading 12 News to investigate what remains.
But first, a bit of history. Cairo High School was originally known as Grant District High School and was built on the top of a hill on land donated to the project by the Carroll family. The new school opened in the fall of 1913 and served grades 7-12.
Several additions were made to the school grounds over the years including a gymnasium, a cafeteria and kitchen, a woodshop, an athletic field just up the hill and a grade school adjacent to the original high school. All but the gymnasium are still standing today.
The school maintained a good standing both academically and athletically throughout the mid-20th century. Several graduating members went on to pursue degrees from various universities across the country, including Mark “Buzz” Davis. Davis went to Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio on a basketball scholarship and was drafted in the 1955 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics.
Below are some pictures of the school and its members gathered over the years with the help of the staff at the Ritchie County Public Library and the works of Charles and Ruth Schoolcraft.
The school maintained operation until 1971 when the Ritchie County Board of Education (RCBOE) closed several area high schools and consolidated them into Ritchie County High School. In the years leading up to its closure, CHS averaged only 17 seniors per year, which was not worth the cost of operation to the RCBOE. The grade school continued to operate until its eventual closure in 2001, leaving the school grounds effectively abandoned by the RCBOE
52 years after the high school closed and 22 years after the property was abandoned by the RCBOE, 12 News reached out and was granted permission by the current owners to come and document the site. Below are some of the most updated pictures taken as of March 2, 2023.
12 News would like to reiterate that we were given express permission by the owner to come and photograph the property. The owners are in the midst of refurbishing parts of the property and it is unlawful to trespass in West Virginia. Please do not come here without permission.