Cisco High School “Wildcats”

Cisco High School Building
A large house with trees in front of it

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Submitted by Dennis Downey

The History of Cisco High School

Cisco (population 264) is located in east-central Illinois about 10 miles northeast of Decatur.  Illinois Route 32 is the main roadway to and from Cisco.  Interstate Highway 72 passes by to the north of town. Cisco sits in the far west-central portion of Piatt County. The Decatur Junction Railroad line travels to Cisco as well. A nice article on the history of the railroad depot in Cisco can be viewed at the web address of .

The following history information regarding Cisco High School was submitted to us by local history buff Dennis Downey:

Cisco High School offered a two-year and then a three-year high school in parts of the above pictured building in the 1920s, 30s, 40s. If a student wanted to attain a four-year high school diploma they would need to attend school in a neighboring town such as Weldon, Monticello, Argenta, Decatur, or Cerro Gordo. Students would often spend the weekdays in those towns and come home on the weekends.

It was decided in 1945 to deactivate the high school in Cisco. High school students now were sent to Monticello High School to receive their education. The Cisco school then became a grades 1 – 8 facility for a time until it too was closed.  We are not certain when Cisco Grade School closed.

The Cisco High School building had not been used for sure in the 1990s. The school building was torn down in the late 1990s and the Cisco fire station was built on part of the property. A newer addition that was built on to the school is now attached to the fire station as a community center. Part of it was the old gymnasium.

Dennis Downey adds the following information regarding Cisco High School:

“The former Cisco, Illinois high school/grade school was torn down except for the gym and several, more modern classrooms. Where the old building sat is now the Cisco fire station.  It was built as an attachment to the former gymnasium, which is used as a community center. You can walk inside from the fire station to the gym and classrooms through halls that a have existed before the school was closed and torn down.”

Cisco High School Quick Facts

Year opened:                       late 19-teens/early 1920s

Year closed:                        1945

Consolidated to:                   Monticello High School

Cisco HS team nickname:    the “Wildcats”

Cisco HS team colors:          Blue & Gold

School Fight Song:               “Cisco WIldcats

                                                        Tune of Washington Lee & Swing” 

Former Cisco HS Gym and Classrooms – 2009
A building with trees in front of it

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Photo Taken by Dennis Downey
Cisco Basketball Team of 1939-40
A group of people posing for a photo

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Submitted by A.B. and Jack Weddle


We are fairly certain that Cisco High School competed in boys basketball.  It is probable that baseball and track were offered as well. We are searching for any information regarding the athletic program at Cisco High School.  Specific items we like to share include coaches names and season records of teams that played at Cisco High School.

Team members on the photo to your right:

1st row, left to right: Coach Allison Hoke, #3 Hershel Mills, #9 A.B. Weddle, #10 Don Ater, #11 Francis Chapman, #6 Maurice Doane, #5 Robert Leach

2nd row, left to right: cheerleader Jean Leach, Harold Briggs, Robert Mills, #4 John Schoolcraft, #12 Harold Swarts, #7 Gene Mills, #8 Jack Clifton, cheerleader Evelyn Dowdle

3rd row, left to right: Burt McIntosh, Leon Benson


From Jack Weddle and his father, A.B. Weddle:

“The new gym and stage were built by WPA and moved in at the beginining of the 1937-38 school year. Before that, the basketball team played on the old court located where the new gym was built. The playing surface was road oil and cinders (good knee scrapers!). The very few fans who attended these outdoor games would stand around the court. When the gym opened, the town was very proud and the crowds would pack it. The gym was also used for such things as a “big baby show” where local men dressed up like babies – very funny.

Previous to the new gym, when it got too cold, the basketball team would practice in the attic of the school. There was only one basket so games couldn’t be played there.

The track team would practice on the streets around the school and around Cisco and also run out in the country.”

Extra-Curricular Activities

Band, chorus, student government, plays, and many other activities were probably enjoyed by the students of CHS.  Any information on these items are welcome as well.

Cisco GS Wildcats 1960-61 District Champions
A group of people posing for a photo

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Submitted by Jack and A.B. Weddle

Grade School Basketball

The grade school Wildcats had some good teams that carried on the tradition set forth by their ancestors.  The 7th / 8th grade team pictured to your right just missed making the IESA State Playoff finals!  Jack Weddle provided the following information on this excellent team:

“The 1960-61 Grade School team won 3rd in the county, won the District (which was played in Cisco), and got second at sectional (in Moticello), thus missed going to the state finals by one game. They finished 16-4.”

Team members in the photo above  to the right include:

left to right: #30 Ron Barnhart, #43 Charles Nolan, Gary McCormick, #11 Steve McCartney, #12 Jack Weddle, Larry Coon, Alfred Harms, John Benjamin (behind), Ron Oliver (front), David Anderson, Coach Ron Nolte

(shown with 2nd place regional trophy after loss to Riverton)

If You Have ANY Information To Share

…regarding the history of Cisco and its former high school, please drop us a line.  You can contact us via e-mail at .  You can also write to us via the U.S. Postal Service at:

IHSGD Website

6439 N. Neva Ave.

Chicago, Il.  60631

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