Bellmont High School “Bronchos”

Bellmont High School
A group of people outside a building

Description automatically generated with low confidence
Courtesy of Susan Taylor

The History of Bellmont High School

Bellmont (population 297) is located in far southeastern Illinois in the west-central portion of Wabash County.  Bellmont sits about 8 miles west (and a little south) of Mt. Carmel and about 45 miles east of Mt. Vernon.  Illinois Route 15 runs by the northwest side of town.  The Southern Railroad passes through the heart of Bellmont.  There is a former fairgrounds area in town that once played host to the Wabash County Fair.

The area where Bellmont is located was first settled in 1833. The town was officially named in the 1870s after a judge from Mt. Carmel named Robert S. Bell. The residents combined “Bell with the French word “mont” to provide the name of Bellmont, which translates to beautiful mountain (source “Place Names of Illinois” by Edward Callary).  A high school was likely established in town by the late 1800s, certainly by the early 1900s.  Bellmont High School served the town’s children for at least four decades.

This bit of Bellmont High School history was provided by Susan Taylor:

“My mother grew up in Bellmont and went to the high school there and graduated in 1947.The building housed the grade school and the high school.  It was a 3-year high school.  If they wanted a senior year of school, they went in to Mt. Carmel.  The building has been gone for many years.  I think it was demolished in the late 60’s, maybe early 70s.”

It was after the 1946-47 school year that Bellmont High was closed though it continued on as a grade school for some years after that. The Bellmont kids continue to attend Mt. Carmel High School today.

Bellmont High School Quick Facts

Year opened:                                   late 1800s?

Year closed:                                     1947

Consolidated to:                               Mt. Carmel School District

Bellmont HS team nickname:           the “Bronchos”

*This spelling matches that of the Bronchos of Lafayette Jefferson High School in Lafayette, IN.  One of Bellmont’s first coaches graduated from Lafayette and brought the name with him.

BHS team colors:                            Green & White

School Fight Song:                          unavailable


Bellmont High competed in boys basketball for sure (  It is probable that baseball and track were offered as well.  School fight song, team records, and coach’s names are all items we are hoping to locate.

Boys Basketball

For such a small town, Bellmont High School packed a good punch. The boys basketball team at Bellmont High won a total of FIVE District titles.  This included FOUR consecutive titles and all five in a seven year period!  There has got to be a good coach story and some great overall records to go along with these titles. Unfortunately this information is currently not available.


1937-38                    Bone Gap District Champions         Coach’s name & record needed.

1st Rd Beat Keensburg 28-22

Semi-Final Beat Burnt Prairie 43-23

Title Game Beat Bone Gap 40-19

Albion Regional Tournament

1st Rd Beat West Salem 38-20

Semi-Final lost to Carmi 42-41

Mt. Carmel beat Carmi in title game.


1938-39                    Bellmont District Champions           Coach’s name & record needed. 

1st Rd Beat Mt. Erie 60-38

Semi-Final Beat Browns 35-21.

Title Game Beat Bone Gap 39-33

Mt. Carmel Regional Tournament

1st Rd Beat Crossville 51-31

Semi-Final lost to Mt. Carmel 62-27

Mt. Carmel Beat Carmi in title game.

1939-40                    Bellmont District Champions           Coach’s name & record needed

Early Round Scores Needed

Title Game Beat St. Francisville 30-14.

Mt. Carmel Regional Runner-Up!

1st Rd Beat Allendale 30-23

Semi-Final Beat Mt. Carmel 38-36

**Title Game lost to Albion 27-12.

**To make the Regional title game in those days was pretty incredible for a 3-year high school.


1940-41                    Bellmont District Champions          Coach’s name & record needed.

Semi-Final Beat St. Francisville 29-21

Title Game Beat Bone Gap 29-28

Mt. Carmel Regional Tournament

1st Rd Beat Allendale 41-39

Semi-Final lost to Mt. Carmel 53-30

Mt. Carmel beat Albion in title game.

1943-44                   Bellmont District Champions         Coach’s name & record needed.

Early Round Scores Needed.

Title Game Beat Bone Gap 34-28

Carmi Regional Tournament

1st Rd lost to Crossville 41-37

Mt. Carmel beat Carmi in title game.



From Molly McGregor (FKA Susan Kalk):

“I was born in ’55 in Mt. Carmel and lived there until I was about 2 years old. My dad Sharon Kalk, moved us to the Lemont Illinois area where I attended 1st and 2nd grade, and then when his stepmother passed away we moved to Bellmont, to his old home that he inherited. I attended the first couple of months of my 3rd grade year, in a building that I believe to have been the old Bellmont High School. This would have been around 63 or 64. There was actually a brand new little grade school built on the o

ur paper bags full of our school supplies, across town to our new school. When I was in the 5th grade, I recall some sort of “experiment” with Keensburg grade school (probably at one time that building was their high school too…) where our 5th grade class was exchanged for their… (either 4th grade, or 6th grade class) We were bussed to Keensburg that year to attend with their 5th grade class, etc.. and vice versa. Then we were back in Bellmont for 6th grade, and until our 8th grade graduation. Twelve kids in my 8th grade class! Then it was on to MCHS (Mt. Carmel HS).

About the fairgrounds:   They held the Wabash County Fair there when I was a kid. I can’t recall when they stopped… but I loved it when I was grade school age! They had a horse track for the harness racing, along with all the other traditional county fair trappings! Lots of fun! Our house was just right outside the entryway to the park, and I remember one year, setting up a used comic book stand in my front yard, to make some cash to spend on the rides, etc! (LOL)

About the tiny village of Bellmont:   There was, when I was growing up there in the 60’s, something like 350 people, and we had a great little local grocery store. Carter’s Grocery. Several other little stores, including a furniture store and a small restaurant. And the most wonderful little post office. One little building, with P.O. boxes, or you could walk up to the window and ask the postmaster for your mail…

Such memories!”

If You Have ANY Further Information

If you have any further information you can share regarding the many accomplishments and history of Bellmont High School, especially a photo of the original school building, please write to us at .  You can also write to us via real mail at:

Illinois HS Glory Days

6439 N. Neva St. 

Chicago, Il.  60631

  1. Right about it being a three year high school
    My mother went to Browns her senior year
    Ruth Helene Crsig

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: