Buncombe High School

Buncombe Grade School – Former HS Building
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Courtesy of Jamie Driskill
Buncombe HS Building – Northeast Corner
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Submitted by Jamie Driskill

The History of Buncombe High School

Buncombe (population 186) is located in far southern Illinois in west central Johnson County.  Illinois Route 37 is the main highway through Buncombe, located 3 miles north of Illinois Route 146. The Slick Creek runs west of town and the Blue Branch creek flows to the south of town.  The At & St Railroad makes a swooping curve through Buncombe as well.

We are hopeful someone from the area helps us out with the Buncombe educational history.  We believe Buncombe began a school for its children in the late 1800s.  We know the high school served the town of Buncombe at least through the 1940s.  Buncombe High School closed in 1943.  Buncombe residents, however, maintained control of their Grade School and still support the Buncombe Grade School in town for grades K – 8.

Buncombe HS Building – Northwest Corner
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Taken By Jamie Driskill – 2007

Articles in the Vienna Times as reviewed by Betty Fritch state that Buncombe school was being built in 1905.  The Coon Den School District (just north of Buncombe) was annexed by the Buncombe School District in 1938.  The Salem School building was moved into the town of Buncombe and used as a general store that same year.

The fate of the original Buncombe High School building is a good one.  It serves as the Buncombe Grade School.

According to Robert Gage, the class of 1943, his graduating class, was the final high school class to earn their diplomas at Buncombe High School.

Buncombe High School Quick Facts

Year opened:                  late 1800s

Year closed:                   1943

School nickname:           unavailable

School colors:                unavailable

School Fight Song:         unavailable


Buncombe High School had some nice success in boys basketball.  As with most small schools in Illinois, Buncombe probably competed in baseball and track as well.  We need more information regarding the athletic program.  School nickname, colors, fight song, team records, and coach’s names are all being sought, as well as personal stories.

Boys Basketball

The Buncombe High School boys basketball team had two seasons of note recorded on the IHSA web site (www.ihsa.org).  The teams of 1929-30 and 1935-36 won their District titles.  Unfortunately the records and coach’s names of these and other great Buncombe teams are not available.

1929-30        District Champions

1935-36        District Champions


From Robert Gage (Class of 1943):

The school was always a combination of grade school and high school. The last high school  class was in 1943 of which I was a member. The school then reverted to all grade school. Only 5 people were in the graduating class. Only two people names I remember were Ben Mosley and Floyd Stout. Floyd now (2008) lives in Vienna,IL And Ben in upper Michigan.” 

Searching For More Information

Buncombe High School and those who worked hard to make it successful deserve to be remembered.  If you have ANY information, especially a photo of the BHS school building, please share it with us via e-mail at ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net. You can also write to us at:

Illinois HS Glory Days

6439 N. Neva St.

Chicago,  Il.      60631 

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