Bridgeport High School

Bridgeport High School Building

A large building with a clock tower

Description automatically generated with low confidence

Submitted by Dennis Downey

The History of Bridgeport High School


Bridgeport (population 2,168) is located in southeastern Illinois in west-central Lawrence County.  Illinois Route 250 (also known as Alternate U.S. Route 50) is the main roadway through Bridgeport.  Illinois Route 250 intersects with County Highway 8 in Bridgeport.  The CSX Transportation Railroad line passes through the south side of town.  Bridgeport sits about 5 miles southwest of Lawrenceville.


The history of the town of Bridgeport can be found at .  It reads as follows:


“Bridgeport was platted by David D. Lanterman and Aaron Shaw in the summer of 1854. It was incorporated as a town in 1865. Samuel Thorn was the first merchant and George W. Cooper erected the first store after the town was platted. Other buildings were put up by Philip Gwines, Harry Gwines, James Lanterman and John and Henry Hill. The first hotel was erected in 1858 by Jackson Lamott.

Others associated with the early history of Bridgeport include Samuel H. and Rezin Clubb, Robert Drennen, William Martin, Thomas Fish, Samuel Newell, James Stewart, Dr. Samuel Hayes and Samuel L. Spencer.

A destructive fire in 1861 almost wiped out the business section of Bridgeport.”


The history of the school system in Bridgeport is in need of research. We are certain there were schools in the Bridgeport area in the mid to late 1800s.  Our guess is that Bridgeport residents established a high school curriculum for their older students by the late 1800s. We know that Bridgeport High School lasted for at least seven decades. 


It was in the early 1970s that Bridgeport residents began consolidation talks with their neighbors to the west, Sumner.  The effort was finalized at the end of the 1973 school year.  The new district was named the Red Hill School district with the high school located in Bridgeport.


The fate of the original Bridgeport High School is provided by Brian:


“The original Bridgeport High School building, pictured above, stood until 2006 although it had an adjacent section added in the 1950s which still stands today. The main reason for it being torn down was that it had structural and electrical issues and inspectors were putting pressure on the school district to either fix the issues or construct a new building. The building had very steep stairs which caused many injuries to students and faculty due to falls. Many of the rooms were small, overcrowded, and lacked air conditioning. The clock tower was closed off and declared nonfunctional in the 1980s. I attended school in this building from 2001 – 2005.”


Bridgeport High School Quick Facts


Year opened:                              late 1800s

Year closed:                               1973

Consolidated to:                          Red Hill School District (Bridgeport) 

Bridgeport HS team nickname:     the “Bulldogs”

Bridgeport HS team colors:          Blue & White

School Fight Song:                      unavailable



The Bridgeport Bulldogs had some great athletes and athletic accomplishments in their time.  Boys baseball, basketball, and track all had top finishes in IHSA history.  School fight song, team records, and coach’s names are all items we are interested in sharing.




The Bridgeport Bulldogs were a team to be reckoned with for many years.  The basketball program won a total of three District titles (all when District tournaments were the real first round).  They also won four Regioinal titles.  The Bulldog’s best year was during the 1959-60 season.  That year Bridgeport High nearly shocked the state by making it all the way to the State Championship game in the original one-class tournamentCoach Ray Estes charges had an overall record of 33 – 2, losing the championship game to Chicago Marshall, a team probably ten times their size!


Unfortunately this is all of the information we currently have on Bridgeport High’s basketball program.  Team records and coach’s names of other great Bulldog teams are needed.   


1921-22               Bridgeport District Champions             Coach’s name & record needed.

                            1st Rd Beat Mt. Carmel 25-12

                            Semi-final  – Score needed

                            Title Game beat Sumner 13 – 10

                            Mt. Vernon Sectional Tournament

                            1st Rd lost to Marion 58-26

                            Marion lost to Centralia in title game

                            Centralia won state championship


1923-24               IHSA District Champions                       Coach’s name & record needed

                            District Scores Needed

                            West Frankfort Sectional Tournament

.                           1st Rd lost to Centralia 28-21

                            Centralia lost to Frankfort in title game

                            West Frankfort placed 4th in state tournament


1933-34               Bridgeport District Champions             Coach’s name & record needed

                            1st Rd Beat Browns 46-17

                            2nd Rd Beat Keensburg 30-18

                            Semi-final Beat Olney 33-16

                            Title Game Beat Lawrenceville 24-16

                            Salem Sectional Tournament

                            1st Rd lost to Salem 26-23

                            Centralia beat Mt. Vernon in title game

                            Centralia lost in Sweet 16 Round


1935-36               Bridgeport Regional Champions          Coach’s name & record needed

                            1st Rd Beat Allendale 39-22

                            Semi-final beat Palestine 27-23

                            Title Game Beat Olney 26-24

                            Mt. Carmel Sectional Tournament

                            1st Rd Beat Carmi 34-30

                            Semi-final lost to Zeigler 39-33

                            Zeigler beat Mt. Vernon in title game

                            Zeigler lost in Sweet 16 Round.


1959-60  33 – 2    IHSA State Tournament Runner-Up!!   Coach Ray Estes

                            Bridgeport Regional Champions

                            1st Rd Beat Palestine 75-55

                            Semi-final Beat Hutsonville 89-76

                            Title Game Beat Oblong 46-35

BRIDGEPORT (46): Cunningham 18, Martin 9, Gray 8, Magee 6, Shuppert 3, Brown 2.

OBLONG (35): Matheny 13, Price 10, Schlosser 7, Douglas 3, Smith 2.

                            Olney Sectional Champions

                            Semi-final Beat Centralia 56-54

BRIDGEPORT (56): Cunningham 19, Gray 14, Brown 9, Magee 6, Martin 6, Shuppert 2.

CENTRALIA (54): Rapp 20, R. Coleman 13. K. Coleman 8, Stevenson 8, Garrett 5.

                            Title Game Beat Mt. Vernon 67-66 (O/T)

BRIDGEPORT (67): Gray 19, Magee 19, Cunningham 14, Martin 9, Brown 6.

MOUNT VERNON (66): Carrodine 19, Holtman 18, Hall 12, Heidenreich 10, Snyder 5, Clay 2.

                            Super-Sectional Champions

                            Beat Greenville 85 – 73

                            Elite 8 Winners  

                            Beat Ottawa  61 – 55

                            Final Four Finalist

                            Beat West Frankfort  74 – 60

                            State Championship Game

                            Lost to Chicago Marshall  79 – 55


1960-61               Newton Regional Champions                Coach’s name & record needed 

                            1st Rd Beat Newton 76-34

                            Semi-final Beat Lawrenceville 76-33

                            Title Game Beat Oblong 62-55

BRIDGEPORT (62): Cunningham 18, Andrews 14, Shuppert 12, Magee 12, Brown 4, Moffett 2.

OBLONG (55): Jennings 18, Dart 13, Matheny 10, Smith 8, Wall 6.

                             Bridgeport Sectional Runner-Up

                             Semi-final Beat Teutopolis 77-56

BRIDGEPORT (77): Cunningham 39, Andrews 19, Brown 9, Magee 8, Shuppert 2.

TEUTOPOLIS (56): Schumacher 23, Brumleve 19, Runde 10, Griffin 2, Gier 2.

                             Title Game lost to Centralia 51-49

CENTRALIA (51): Rapp 14, Garrett 11, Downey 10, H. Williams 9, Coleman 4, A. Williams 2, Meeks 1.

BRIDGEPORT (49): Andrews 13, Cunningham 11, Magee 10, Moffett 9, Brown 6.

                             Centralia lost to Collinsville 66-64 in Sweet 16 Round

                             Collinsville won State Championship


1961-62               Olney Regional Champions                   Coach’s name & record needed 

                            1st Rd Beat Palestine 72-45

                            Semi-final Beat Oblong 70-46

                            Title Game Beat Olney 73-44

BRIDGEPORT (73): Cunningham 25, Laughlin 14, Moffett 11, Smith 9, Doss 9, Bradford 3, Cardinal 2.

OLNEY (44): Pottorff 13, Stanley 12, Hane 7, Michael 6, Wright 4, Koertge 2.

                            Harrisburg Sectional Tournament

                            Semi-final lost to McLeansboro 84-46

MCLEANSBORO (84): Ji. Burns 36, Jo. Burns 14, Sturm 11, Webb 10, Ingram 7, Ater 2, Boyer 2, Brockett 2.

BRIDGEPORT (46): Cunningham 23, Doss 9, Smith 8, Bradford 2, Cardinal 2, Dennis 1, Laughlin 1.

                            McLeansboro placed 4th in State Tournament


1972-73               Robinson Class ‘A’ Regional                     Coach’s name & record needed

                            1st Rd Beat St. Francisville 62-59

                            *Semi-final lost to Robinson 85-53

                            Robinson lost to Lawrenceville in title game

                            Lawrenceville lost in Sectional

*Final game for Bridgeport High School, became known as Red Hill High School in the summer of 1973,


*The Bulldogs were a regular participant in the annual Shelbyville High School Tournament.  There best result and information on one of the best players ever at Bridgeport are listed below.

1962 – 2nd place
Individual marks
Most Pts. Game  Steve Cunningham 44 (Tied for 1st), 1962
Most FG Game Steve Cunningham 17, 1962
Most Pts. Tourney (three games) Steve Cunningham 99, 1962
Cunningham would go on to become the varsity girls basketball coach at Bridgeport (Red Hill). 


Track & Field


The BHS thinclads had some great success as well.  A second place finish in 1923 followed by a seventh place finish in 1924 highlighted the team success of the Bulldogs. In addtion 13 individual medals were earned by 10 different athletes.  Included in these were State Champs L. Molosh and M. Seed!


1920-21      Individual Medalist


                  ?  Fiscus             880 Yard Run     2ND Place


1922-23B    Team Finished SECOND in IHSA State Meet Competition!!


                  Individual Medalists


                  L. Malosh             High Jump        STATE CHAMPION!!

                  M. Seed               Pole Vault         STATE CHAMPION!!

                  L. Diver                440 Yard Dash    2ND Place

                  A. Hart                 Shot Put             4TH Place

                  Final Team Standings
                  1)  White Hall                                  20 1/5
                  2)  BRIDGEPORT HIGH SCHOOL    15 ½ 
                  3)  Hinsdale (Twp.)                           15  
                  4)  Carlinville                                    12  
                  5)  Havana                                       11   
1923-24B    Team Finished SEVENTH in IHSA State Meet Competition!!


                  Individual Medalists 


                  L. Diver                440 Yard Dash      2ND Place

                  A. Hart                 Shot Put               2ND Place 

                                              Discus                   5TH Place

                  ?  Pugh                120 Yard Hurdles  4TH Place
                  ?  Seither             Pole Vault            4TH Place


                  Final Team Standings


                  1)  Girard                                        20   
                  2)  Chesterfield                                16  
                  2)  White Hall                                  16   
                  4)  Carlinville                                    15  
                  5)  Gridley                                       13  
                  5)  Hinsdale (Twp.)                           13  
                  7)  Wheaton (H.S.)                           12  
                  7)  BRIDGEPORT HIGH SCHOOL     12   
1924-25B    Individual Medalist


                  ?  Kemper            High Jump           5TH Place


1927-28      Individual Medalist


                  ?  Lake                 Javelin                2ND Place


1937-38       Team Won District Championship


1938-39       Individual Medalist


                   ?  Smith               120 Yard Hurdles  2ND Place

1948-49       Team Won District Championship



Coach Ray Estes proved to be a talented coach in charge of a very talented group of athletes.  The kids of 1959-60 followed up their trip to the basketball finals with a trip to the Elite 8 in baseball as well! The boys won the school’s only Regional and Sectional championships in baseball but lost to eventual State Runner-up Waukegan in the Quarter-Final match-up.


1959-60    9 – 3    ELITE 8 Finalists!!                           Coach Ray Estes

                          Regional Champions

                          Sectional Champions

                          Elite 8 Finalists

                          Lost to Waukegan 11 – 1

                          Waukegan was State Runner-up

Boys Golf


One linkster earned a top-five individual finish for Bridgeport High.  Lyle Gilliatt earned a 5TH Place finish in the 1943 State Golf Competition!!

1943       Individual Medalist


              Lyle Gilliatt       5TH Place


Need your Assistance


If you have ANY further information about Bridgeport High School and its historic past, please send it to us via e-mail.  Athletic accomplishments, as well as overall high school information is being sought.  Photos and information can be sent 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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