Castleton High School

Castleton School Building
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Castleton, Illinois

The History of Castleton School

Castleton is located in western Stark County on County Road “1” about 4 miles south of Il. Rt. 93.  If you go by the “as the crow flies” system, the town is located approximately 15 miles southeast of Kewanee.  Castleton is not listed on the 2000 Illinois Census but probably has about 100 residents.  It appears as though the town was platted on a busy railroad line in the 1800s.  That line closed or was moved as reminants of the tracks remain near the now closed grain elevator.

The origin of the town was provided to us by John Ballentine:

“Stark County’s Penn Township is the shortened version of Pennsylvania and is named for the people from that state who settled this area.  Castleton, located within Penn Township, is named for Dr. Alfred H. Castle, M.D., an early pioneer of Stark County in the 19TH century. Castleton was surveyed by Edwin Butler for Dr. Alfred H. Castle, and the plat acknowledged April 7, 1870.  The original town consisted of seven blocks northwest of the old D.P.& H. railroad.  Kissinger’s addition was acknowledged October 11, 1870.”

Education was a priority for the folks of the newly formed Castleton. In 1875, the bill for the establishment of a Normal School was passed and Prof. J. D. Woods was named principal

We have come up with a measure of proof that Castleton High School did, in fact, at one time exist.  John Ballentine conducted some extensive research into the history of the Stark County High School Boys Track & Field Meet which was held annually from 1909 through 1989.  The Castleton boys won the championship of this meet in 1910!!  Further information on this piece of history is provided below.

While conducting his research, John also discovered the following Stark County News newspaper articles from the early 1900s regarding Castleton High School:

Stark County News Article June 21, 1916
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Submitted by John Ballentine (Click on article to view enlarged version)

*Two articles referring to Castleton school stating; “The teachers and pupils of the high school room….” and ” the 2 pupils of the high school”.  The school may have been small, but it was a high school.

*June 1910  An article that shows the 1910 Stark County track meet results.  Two kids from Castleton placed well in several events leading to the school’s win.

*Aug 23 1911 p.c2   An article states; “Prof. J.H.B. Smith who was principal of Castleton high school four years ago…”

*May 15, 1912  An item in the CASTLETON correspondent’s column of the Stark County News May 15, 1912 issue :

  “The alumni met at the home of Fred Loper last Friday evening to decide upon matters pertaining to the class banquet, which will in all probability be held on Friday evening, May 31.

     The graduation exercises of the High school will be held in the Methodist church on Wednesday evening, May 29.  The class consists of Ross Steward,  Willard Currie,  Ina Fouts,  Gains Crum,  and  Will McCurdy.  The class colors are red and green, and the motto, “We Finish to Begin”.  The baccalaureate sermon will be preached by the pastor, Rev. Rees, on Sunday evening, May 26.

     We must certainly congratulate our former school principal, H. J. Mozingo, upon his latest attainments in position among the world’s workers.  Harley, who is the very soul of honor, always impressed us as one with an unusually eager desire to further scale the heights of success, and we steadfastly believe that his excellent qualities of heart and mind will in time win recognition from the government in the form of promotion.

                              In a separate account of the graduation ceremony:

“Speeches were given by Willard G. Currie – valedictorian and Ina M. Fouts – salutatorian during the Castleton High School graduation. ”

*June 5 1912 p3c3  An article states;  “The class of 1912 of Castleton High School had their photographs taken at Pauli’s studio in Wyoming last Thursday.”

*May 19 1915 p6c3  An article states; “Principal Corriel of the Castleton high school…”  (Mr. Corriel later went to LaFayette High for the 1915-16 school year.)

*June 7 1916 p1c6   A headline reads; “Castleton Township to seek Township High School.”

*June 21 1916  A headline reads;  “Castleton wins Township High School by 6 Majority”

*July 12 1916   A headline reads;  “Election at Castleton Saturday for Board of Education”

*March 24, 1920 Stark County News  March 24, 1920 page 7 column 1 :

CASTLETON GIRL WINNER”

” Miss Ruth Waters, of the Castleton high school, has been declared the county winner in the Army essay contest being conducted by the war department and her essay will be sent to Peoria as the Stark County entry in the nation-wide competition.  Miss Waters’ essay on “The Advantages of Enlisting in the Army” will compete with other counties in the Peoria recruiting district.”

The Methodist Episcopal Church in Castleton served as the site for high school graduation ceremonies.

Upon closing, the children of Castleton attended Wyoming High School or Bradford High School.  Both of those high schools are closed and are listed on this site.  The school-aged students of Castleton today attend Stark County High School in Toulon.

Castleton School Building Today

The following information was provided by Janice Hovendon regarding the Castleton School and its history:

For as long as I can remember the town of Castleton was divided right down the middle. The kids on the west side of main street were in the Wyoming School District and the kids on the East side were in the Bradford School District.  It is still that way today.  The school house was an antique shop for many, many years and then in the past few years was purchased by, I believe, the Apostolic Christian Church and made into a private christian school. It is called Heartland Private School.”

The school building on the south edge of Castleton still stands proudly and is well kept. Great news for the unique school building pictured above!

Castleton High School Quick Facts

Year opened:                late 1800s / early 1900s

Year closed:                 1920

Conslolidated to:           Wyoming or Bradford high schools

School team nickname: unavailable

School team colors:      unavailable

School Fight Song:       unavailable

ATHLETICS

The Castleton High School boys did compete in track & field.  It is possible the school supported a baseball and basketball team as well.  If you have any information please contact us and help us share it on this page.

Stark County Track Meet Results – June 08, 1910
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Courtesy of John Ballentine (Click on article to view enlarged version)

TRACK & FIELD

Extensive research by John Ballentine proved that the Castleton High School boys could compete wth the bigger schools from Stark County in the early 1900s.  It was in 1910 that Castleton High School was credited with winning the 2nd Annual Stark County High School Track & Field Meet!  The history of this meet, provided by John, is shared below:

“The Stark County track/field and declamatory meet was a major event for decades.  It was fiercely fought in order to win that particular year and claim county bragging rights.  Businesses and schools, even the grade schools, were closed early in order to attend the afternoon meet.  Main streets resembled ghost towns because a majority of the county’s population was at the contest.

Records were kept and trophies, plaques, ribbons, etc. were awarded.  Yet, in 1990 the county meet could no longer be held.  Castleton High no longer existed, Toulon and LaFayette Highs were consolidated, and Bradford began co-opting with Tiskilwa to form a track team.  Since Tiskilwa was not part of Stark County, this eliminated Bradford’s participation leaving only Toulon-LaFayette and Wyoming as the competitors from the original 5 schools.  Therefore, the meet was permanently discontinued after 1989.”

Memories

A former resident of Castleton, Robert Kelly, had this to say about the school history of the town:

I dont recall Castleton school being a high school. I lived in Castleton for 10 yrs in the 50’s. It could have been but I lived there with most of the older people and I never recalled any one refering to it as a high school. The gym was built the year I started school. You had a choice of high schools like you said but you could also walk uptown to Marshal Lopers store and post office and the bus would pick you up for either high school. I went to Castleton Grade School, Wyoming Grade School, and Wyoming High School.

From former student Virgil Hostetler:

“My father, Everett Hostetler, farmed 1/2 mile east of the school.  I do not ever remember the school being referred to as a high school although it could have been before my time, but was pleased to see it listed on this site.  I attended Castleton Grade School, starting in the first grade in 1945 and graduating in 1953. I went on to attend Bradford High School.  We moved from Castleton to Toulon in 1956.

Referring to the pictures posted, grades 1-4 were on the right side and grades 5-8 were on the left side.  A Mrs. Tuttle was the teacher for grades 1-4 at that time.  The school did not have a gym while I attended it as I remember that our ‘gym’ was in the basement. The ceiling of the basement was probably no more than around 6 feet high.  A softball field of sorts was located behind the school.  I do remember Marshal Lopers general store, Fred Lopers hardware store, Walt Malamphys general store/gas station located just north of Marshal Lopers store, and a tavern across from Malamphys store that served great catfish dinners on

Friday nights.  I also delivered the Peoria Journal Star newspaper in Castleton for a while.”

Seeking Further Information

If you have any information regarding the town of Castleton and its former school please contact us via e-mail at ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net . You may also write us at:

Illinois HS Glory Days

6439 N. Neva St.

Chicago,  Il.  60631

Castleton High School
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Front View

 

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