The History of Andover High School
Andover is located on Il. Rt. 81 approximately 25 miles southwest of the Quad Cities in Henry County. The town’s population is a comfortable 600 residents. Perhaps best known outside of the village, making the town even world reknowned, is the “Jenny Lind Chapel.” The “Swedish Nightingale” Jenny Lind visited the town in the mid 1800’s. She was a world famous singer of the time, and she donated a sizable sum of money for the Chapel’s construction. The chapel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Occasional Swedish services are held there, as well as other occasional ceremonials.
Education has been important in the town from its foundation. The children of Andover now attend high school in nearby Orion. The high school closed in 1945, and by 1949 the village was officially joined to the Orion School District. Rural students directly east of the village attend Cambridge schools, and to the south, Alwood. The grade school closed in the 1974.
A new brick high school building was erected in Andover in 1927. It served as Andover Consolidated School District #26 from 1927 through 1945. It continued to serve as a grade school for the Orion School District until classes were discontinued there in 1974. Today the building is in pretty good shape and serves as an apartment building.
A photo viewed in a Mineral High School yearbook shows the Andover High School basketball team and lists them as the Andover “Swedes”. (If the photo is located it will be scanned onto this page.) Grade School Students, located in the same building, had their own team name, the “Blue Racers.” Andover High School colors were blue and gold. The colors of the Swedish flag are blue and gold. These school colors are currently used at nearby Galva High School (officially at Galva blue and “maize”), also a town with a large precentage of Swedish Immigrants.
More information regatrding the history and educational past of Andover was located by our own Richard Soseman:
“There was a Lutheran Farm/School at Andover for many years. Many of the
residents were from Sweden.”
“Also, an Andover points of interest website refers to the “Site of
Andover’s first two-story school”. Built in 1858, Andover’s first school was
located just south of the colony, and was erected in the late 1830’s.
According to their website, Andover was “patterned after New Haven,
Connecticut, as the founder envisioned a seat of learning, religion, and
commerce.” Andover was the first town founded in Henry County.”
The “Historic Inn” is one building that remains of the 1800’s high school complex, as the second floor housed some classrooms, and a stage used for High School and community productions, as well as Vaudeville. The stage curtain still contains, on the back, signatures of students and other actors who took part in productions there. The fine arts were important at the High School, with plays and music being performed frequently.
Another building used for high school classes in the early 1900’s is the American Woman’s League Chapter House, which is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Scandinavian Immigrants were known for their love of music, and so it is perhaps not surprising that Andover High School had an original school song of several verses, with words written by Coach Ralph Zech, and original music composed by Orlan P. Anderson. Also unusual for public schools which shared the same building is the fact that the Grade School had its own separate mascot and school song.
Andover High School Quick Facts
Year opened: 1860
Year closed: 1945
Grade School Close: 1974
School colors: Blue & Gold
School nickname: the “Mighty Swedes”
School Fight Song: “Here’s to Old Andover”
Here’s to old Andover,
Here’s to loyalty.
We are known all over,
As the Mighty Swedes.
Fight! Fight! Fight! Andover,
Fight for Victory.
(Rah, Rah, Rah, Rah)
Never will we falter,
In our loyalty.
Wave the Blue and Gold,
Cheer our Fighting Men.
Warriors brave and bold,
Fighting to the end.
Cheer our Alma Mater,
Cheer our Varsity.
We will give no other,
The Andover Grade School Song
(Tune: It’s a Long Way to Tipperary)
It’s a long way to Andover Grade School.
It’s a long way to go.
It’s a long way to Andover Grade School,
To the finest school I know.
So farewell to any other- for them I don’t care.
It’s a long way to Andover Grade School,
But my heart’s right there.
Fight Songs and some other information courtesy of Ron Peterson! Thanks Ron!