Bunker Hill Military Academy

The History of Bunker Hill Military Academy

Coat Pins from Bunker Hill Military Academy
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Sumitted by Walter Slonopas

Bunker Hill (population 1,801) is located in southwestern Illinois about 25 miles northeast of East St. Louis.  The town sits in the south-central portion of Macoupin County. Illinois Route 159 is the main roadway to and from Bunker Hill. County Highway 14 also travels through town as Illinois Route 138 passes by Bunker Hill just one mile to the north.

According to the Wikipedia address of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bunker_Hill,_Illinois , the area in which Bunker Hill was first settled was named Wolf Ridge.  This settlement occurred in 1830. An early settler named Elijah Lincoln platted a town in his name about a mile south of the current Bunker Hill in 1830.  However the post office for the area was located one mile to the north.  The idea for the town of Lincoln was eventually abandoned, and Bunker Hill was established around the post office in 1837.

The following information was summarized from two articles we found on the internet;  http://www.618connect.com/~bhlibrary/DH/bhma.html and the Wikipedia address of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bunker_Hill,_Illinois :

The school most commonly known as Bunker Hill Military Academy got its start in 1859 as simply Bunker Hill Academy as it was not originally considered a military school.  The start of the Civil War closed the school in 1862.  The school’s building was used as a public school from at least 1862 through 1869.

It was in 1883 that the Bunker Hill Military Academy opened in the same building. The person credited with founding the Military academy is Rev. Samuel L. Stiver. The academy was established to provide strict regiment of classroom learning and discipline for the students, or cadets, who attended there.  In the article written by Carolyn Scroggins, the Academy grounds are described in the following manner:

“There were over 100 large shade trees on the four acres surrounding the buildings.  Other grounds of six or eight acres included a ball diamond, large areas for gardens and pasture land.  Structures included the main Building that was three stories high, a gymnasium with extra rooms at the side for an armory and wheel room, Stiver Hall, carriage house and stables.”

The school’s founder, Reverend Stiver, remained the catalyst of the school’s success through his death in 1910.  From 1883 through 1910 the Academy had enrolled 1,050 cadets from 17 different states, with the bulk of those enrolled coming from Illinois and Missourri.

Those Academy leaders who attempted to maintain the success enjoyed by Reverend Stiver were unable to do so. The Academy was closed in 1914. The Academy buildings were torn down, with the bell from the Academy being bought by a local church.  The grounds which once held the Academy buildings are now maintained as a park by the local American Legion post.

Bunker Hill Military Academy Quick Facts

Year opened:                               1859

Year first closed:                          1862 (Civil War)

Used as Public School:                1862-1869

Re-opened as Military Academy:   1883

Year closed:                                1914

School team nickname:                 unavailable

School team colors:                      Burgandy & Gray

School Fight Song:                       unavailable


The Bunker Hill Military Academy boys competed with other schools in the area in the sports of baseball, basketball, football, and track. The article by Carolyn Scroggins even offers a photo of a baseball jersey of the day bearing the letters “BHMA”.  The Bunker Hill cadets often were matched against much bigger schools, including Bunker Hill High School.  As Scroggins’ article states:

“BHMA teams often made a good showing at that time by beating teams from larger schools and frequently beating Bunker Hill High School.

Other Extra-Curricular Activities

From Carolyn Scroggins’ article on Bunker Hill Military Academy (http://www.618connect.com/~bhlibrary/DH/bhma.html):

“The recreational program of the Academy was full and varied.  The large, well-equipped gymnasium was used for gymnastics, roller-skating, basketball, military drills, assemblies and other things.  On the grounds were tennis courts and facilities for croquet, archery, quoits and horseback riding.  Ice-skating was enjoyed on shallow lakes nearby.”

Several musical options were offered to the students as well.

If You Have Information to Share…

… regarding Bunker Hill Military Academy, please contact us at ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net.  Team records and school building photos are being sought to add to this page. Items can be mailed to us at:

IHSGD Website

6439 N. Neva St.

Chicago, Il.  60631


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