Big Rock Township High School “Panthers”

Big Rock High School and Grade School
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Courtesy of 1951 Yearbook Sent by Helen McGrady

The History of Big Rock Township High School

The township of Big Rock is located in southwestern Kane County on U.S. Route 30 at Rhodes Avenue, edging ever closer to being called a western Chicago suburb.  The IHSA web site places the Big Rock town population at 800, while our research of the official 2000 Illinois Census lists it as a rapidly growing city with a population at that time (2000) of 1,938.  A city of note near Big Rock is Aurora, about 10 miles to the west.  The Burlington Northern Railroad runs through town. Big Rock is slowly being preyed upon by the Chicago metropolitan area and will soon be (if it isn’t already) considered a western suburb of Chicago.

It was after the 1957 school year that Big Rock area residents found it in their best interest to merge with nearby Hinckley. According to Elton Lash, the final graduating class of Big Rock High School included Jim Ford, Dianne Dummett, Sandra Brackett, Lee Jump, Judy Thompson, Phyllis Morse, Harlan Schmidt, Ron Fritsch, Alice Kammes, and George Eberly.  The creation of the Hinckley – Big Rock school system is a fact.  Hinckley – Big Rock High School is still going strong today.

The fate of the original Big Rock High School building is unknown.  There is still a Big Rock Elementary School for grades K – 8 in town.

Big Rock Township High School Quick Facts

Year opened:                 late 1800s

Year closed:                  1957

School nickname:          the “Panthers”

School colors:               Blue & Gold

School Fight Song:        unavailable


We are in need of a lot of assistance regarding the accomplishments and sports offered at Big Rock Township High School.  It is a fact they offered boys basketball.  It is also thought baseball and track were offered at the school.  We are hopeful for assistance from an area fan to fill in the details.  The only IHSA ( mention of Big Rock Township High School is listed below.

Boys Basketball

The boys basketball team at Big Rock won one District title.  It was during the 1947-48 school year.  The coach’s name and team record is not availalble.

The team of 1950-51 (pictured to your right) was also quite successful.  An overall record of 22 – 7 was highlighted by the Panther’s claiming the Yorkville Holiday Tournament Championship.  Big Rock also battled their way into the championship of the District tournament that year before falling to Hickley 41 – 38 in overtime.  Members of the team included Bob Biehl, Arthur Hunt, Bob James, Elton Lash, Howard Lee, Jim Lee, Elton Ness, Dick Phillips and Leon ThurowPhillips and Lash were the team’s leading scorers.

1947-48                   District Champions


1949-50    22 – 5       Co-Champs Little 8 Conf.                  Coach M.M. Fickas

                               **Co-Champs with Hampshire in

                               regular season conf race at 8-2

                               **Runners-up in Little Eight Conf

                               Tourney losing to Hampshire 35-25

**Yorkvile Holiday Tourney Champs

d. Elburn 36-32

d. Minooka 40-27

d. Plano 43-33 in title game

Big Rock High School Basketball 1949-50
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1950-51    22 – 7       Yorkvile Holiday Tourney Champs

District Runner-up

Big Rock HS Panthers of 1951
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Thank you to Helen McGrady
Big Rock HS Band of 1951
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Courtesy of Helen McGrady


From Helen Murry McGrady (Grade School Eighth Grade Class of 1952):

“The biggest things going on in the school from spring of 1950 through 1953, when I attended, were basketball, band, chorus, field and track.  For a small school, there was great participation.  In the winter the gym was used for noon time basketball while the stage was set up with ping-pong tables and there were tournaments.  There was a huge field out back and there was where the outdoor events were held for grade and high schools.

It was a wonderful experience attending Big Rock schools.  The grade school took us on a lot of field trips to Chicago, Hager Potter, Borden Ice Cream, Avon, Brookfield Zoo and high school took us to some plays. I think one was “Call Me Madam”, maybe that was the one with Ethel Merman.  Great memories.”

If You Have Any Information…

…you would like to share regarding the many successses and accomplishments attained by the Big Rock Township High School students please send them to us so we can share them with others.  We are especially interested in a photo of the old school building and great teams, players, and coaches of the Big Rock past.  You can e-mail these items to us at  You can also write to us at:

Illinois HS Glory Days

6439 N. Neva St. 

Chicago,  Il.   60631


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