Albion State Normal School & SICE

First Building-Swanger Hall 1896

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.  




Act of Idaho Legislature creates Albion State Normal School, March 7th.

Five acres deeded to State of Idaho by Josiah E. Miller as initial property of the Albion State Normal School, April 14th.

First Albion State Normal School building constructed using volunteer labor and local materials.


1894Albion State Normal School opens with a student body of twenty-six, September 11th.
1894 - 1897Frank A. Swanger appointed as President of Albion State Normal School.
1896Swanger Hall - Administration Building constructed.
 Emersonian Society, a student literary and debate organization, founded. Society dissolved in 1933.
1897 - 1902J. C. Black appointed as President of Albion State Normal School.
1897Philomathean Society, a counterpoint to the Emersonian Society, founded, October. Society dissolved in 1933.
1901Miller Hall, a dormitory for men, completed.
1902 - 1904Horace Ellis appointed as President of Albion State Normal School.
1904 - 1920George A. Axline appointed as President of Albion State Normal School.
1905Hansen Hall, living quarters for female faculty, completed.
1907Training School completed, summer.
1911Senate Education Committee presents report to abolish Albion School, February 28th.
1914Axline Gymnasium, in honor of President George. A. Axline, completed.
1917Failed attempt in Idaho Senate to move Normal School operation to Pocatello.
1918Commissioner of Education urges Governor Davis to relocate Albion School, May 1st.

Comish Hall, a dormitory for female students, completed.

1920 - 1932Clarence E. Bocock appointed as President of Albion State Normal School.
1926Comish Hall expanded.
1927New enlarged administration/library building constructed.
1929McMurray Hall, a dormitory for men, completed.
1930President’s Home constructed, November.
1933 - 1951Raymond H. Snyder appointed as President of Albion State Normal School.
1938Miller Hall remodeled.
1939Highest yearly number of student enrollments recorded.
1941Hansen Hall remodeled.
1943Administration Building renamed Bocock Memorial Hall in honor of President Clarence E. Bocock, June.
1946George Peabody College for Teachers releases its report, “Public Education in Idaho,” to the Education Survey Commission, urging the closure of Albion State Normal School, October 22nd.
1947Swanger Hall burns to the ground in early morning fire, July 19th. Temporary buildings shipped from former Prisoner of War camp near Rupert.
1947Name of Albion State Normal School changed to Southern Idaho College of Education.
1951Last Commencement Ceremony of Southern Idaho College of Education held, May 29th.

Educational program responsibilities transferred to Idaho State College in Pocatello.

1958Campus re-opened as Magic Valley Christian College, a private liberal arts college, September 8th. This facility closed in 1969.
1959Records of Albion State Normal School inventoried at Idaho State College, October.  


The Albion State Normal School Records comprise approximately 36 linear feet of correspondence, files, ledgers, cards and other miscellaneous documents. They were received by Idaho State College (later Idaho State University) in 1959. The records are arranged alphabetically and/or chronologically. During the processing procedure, standard folders were replaced with archival folders and the materials were then transferred into ninety-one document boxes that divided the records into six orderly series or segments.

The records primarily cover the time period from about 1894 to about 1952.

The first series of records, fifteen boxes, contain typescript copies of minutes, from 1921 to 1951, of the Idaho State Board of Education meetings which were held in various places within the state.

The second series of records, six boxes, is a collection of faculty records, beginning in 1934, of the Albion State Normal School, primarily grade books of students.  These records are arranged chronographically and many of the files within the series are arranged alphabetically by the instructor’s name.

The third series of records, which comprises the bulk of the collection, that is fifty-eight boxes, are files from the Registrar’s Office. These include individual student files, class schedule cards, matriculation cards and records that documented the courses and grades of students. Also included in these files may be letters written to the Registrar concerning previous schoolwork or life experience that could be accepted at Albion. In addition, there are two large card catalog systems of report cards from 1904 to 1920 and enrollment cards from 1918 to 1944.

The fourth series of records, seven boxes, is composed of grade transcripts and some letters of recommendation from high schools, colleges or universities that were requested by the Albion State Normal School, in behalf of students. These records were not returned to or retrieved by the individual students at the closing of the school; they cover the entire time period of the school operations.

The fifth series of records, fourteen boxes, is comprised of a wide variety of materials. Included are schedules, reports, correspondence, programs, prepared graduation certificates, course catalogs, ledger books, rosters and bulletins. These records are from the 1890s to the late 1950s, when they were sent to Pocatello.

The sixth series of records, a single box, is comprised of items that do not necessarily fit in any of the other series of records, but are deemed to be of historical importance within the context of the Albion State Normal School.



 Important Dates 

Magic Valley Christian College will be holding a 50 year reunion in Albion on July 30 and July 31, 2008. 






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City Of Albion
225 South Main Street
Albion, Idaho 83311
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