Charleston Eastern State High School “Vikings”

The History of Charleston Eastern State High School

Charleston (population 21,039) is situated in lower-eastern Illinois in the center of Coles County. Illinois Route 16 is the main roadway to and from Charleston and connects it to Interstate Highway 57 just five miles to the west.  Illinois Route 130 also runs through Charleston. The Norfolk & Western and Conrail railroads travel through town as well.  Cassell and Riley creeks flow through town and Lake Charleston sits to the southeast of Charleston.

According to the Wikipedia website address of,_Illinois, Charleston was first settled in 1831 and is named after its founder Charles Morton. Charleston was officially incorporated as a town in 1865. Charleston is the county seat of Coles County and is home to Eastern Illinois University.

In the early days of Eastern Illinois University a high school was offered on campus as well.  Like other college towns of Macomb and Carbondale, Eastern Illinois University had a high school. The history of this high school is in need of research.  Eastern Illinois University was established in 1895.  A high school was likely established on campus in the late 1890s to early 1900s as well.  The folowing bit of information on Eastern State High School was provided to us by 1950 alum Rick Meyers:

“This high school was actually known as Eastern State High School when I graduated in 1950. It was Teachers College High School until 1947(?) when the name was changed because Eastern Illinois State Teachers College became Eastern Illinois University. The school colors were blue and gold and the fight song was, I believe,  “Stars and Stripes Forever” (Our blue and our gold banners fly, etc, etc.). There are still class reunions from time to time though I have not attended one since 2001. I think the school records are maintained by the EIU Alumni Association and you could probably get additional information there. The school was closed a few years after I graduated, but I don’t recall the exact year.”

The year of closure for Eastern State High School could not be found. If you have this information please contact us at

Charleston Eastern State High School Quick Facts

Year opened:                              late 1800s / early 1900s

Year closed:                               1950s?

Consolidated to:                          Charleston High School

Eastern HS team nickname:         the “Vikings”

Eastern HS team colors:              Blue & Gold

School Fight Song:                      Sung to “Stars and Stripes Forever”

Athletics and Extra-Curricular Activities

We know that Eastern High School had a good athletic program. Boys were offered basketball, track, and probably baseball, football, and swimming as well.  However it was in the speech and acting departments where Eastern High School really made a name for itself. A team STATE CHAMPIONSHIP and several individual medals were earned by the EHS students.  Eastern High School team nickname, colors, fight song, coach’s names and team records are being sought.

Boys Basketball

The boys basketball program at Eastern High won back to back District titles in the mid-1930s.  Team records and coach’s names for these and other great EIUHS teams are needed.

1935-36            District Champions

1936-37            District Champions

Boys Track & Field

Three individuals won a total of four medals at the State Meet while the team of 1942-43 won a District title

1924-25B        ??  Miller             880 Yard Run          4TH Place
1925-26          ??  Miller             880 Yard Run          4TH Place

1942-43          District Champions

1942-43          Lyle Knott            100 Yard Dash         5TH Place
1944-45          Paul Neff              440 Yard Dash         2ND Place

Speech & Drama

There must have been quite a push and a great teacher or teachers at Eastern Illinois University High School in the 1940s.  Seven TOP-TEN Finishes in one eight year period during this time frame highlighted the success of the Eastern HS Speech. Included in this stretch is the school’s only STATE CHAMPIONSHIP in the Speech Individual Events Competition in 1947-48! 

Speech Individual Events

1941-42         Team Finished TENTH in STATE Competition!

                     Individual Medalist

                     Ruth Breen             Serious               3RD Place


1942-43         Team Finished FOURTH in STATE Competition!

                     Individual Medalist

                     James Dowler         Orat. Declam      STATE CHAMPION!!


1943-44          Team Finished NINTH in STATE Competition!

                      Individual Medalist

                      Marianne Bower    Orig Oratory        2ND Place


1944-45          Individual Medalist

                      Mary Patton            Verse                  3RD Place

1945-46          Team Finished SIXTH in STATE Competition!


                      Individual Medalists

                      Mary Patton            Verse                  3RD Place
Jahala Foote          Orig Oratory        4TH Place


1946-47          Team Finished FIFTH in STATE Competition!

                      Individual Medalists


                      Chester Adams       Orat Declam        2ND Place
Joan Burkard          Serious               4TH Place




                      Individual Medalists

                      Chris Russell           Extemp               STATE CHAMPION!!
Marilyn Clark          Orig Oratory        3RD Place
Norma Metter          Verse                  3RD Place


1948-49          Team Finished TENTH in STATE Competition!

                      Individual Medalist

                      Karen Moore           Orig Oratory        3RD Place

1949-50          Individual Medalist

                      Barbara Eppstein    Verse                   5TH Place


1854-55          Individual Medalist

                      Sharon Park            Verse                   5Th Place

Speech Sweepstakes

1946-47          Team Finished NINTH in STATE Competition!


1947-48          Team Finished SECOND in STATE Competition!


1953-54          Team Won District Championship


1947-48          Team Won Sectional Championship

Seeking Your Assistance

Charleston Eastern Illinois University High School should be remembered, and its accomplishments recorded, for all to see and read.  We are hopeful for some in-put from an Eastern High School alum or resident of the area. As always, a photo of the school building is being sought.  Items can be e-mailed 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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