|The History of Colona High School
Colona (population 5,173) is located in Henry County in Northwest-Western Illinois just a few miles east of East Moline and Carbon Cliff, and a mile west of Interstate 80. Illinois State Route 84 runs through the town, as well as the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe railroad and the former Rock Island Railroad.
According to the town’s website (here) Colona was platted in 1855 on the north side of what is today’s Colona, and incorporated in 1903. The town was once two seperate entities. The Hennipen Canal was built along the southern edge of Colona between 1893-1907. In 1939, the town of Green Rock was platted south of the Canal. After a failed merger attempt in 1968, the two towns came together in 1997.
According to the 1968 Henry County History (“Corn, Commerce, and Family Living”) Schooling in Colona was held in a Catholic Church until 1872, when a two-story building was built on the present site of the SW corner of Warren and Broadway. High school education began in 1923, with the first graduating class of five students commencing in 1924.
Students from Colona, Green River, Briar Bluff and Cleveland all went to the high school in Colona. The other towns had schools of their own up until the 8th grade.
The school had a steady enrollment until Green Rock was platted. With the coming of new residents to the area, the school saw its enrollment swell. The building would undergo many changes and renovations to fit the needs of the community’s youth. From the high school’s beginning until 1934, it was a two-year school. A third year was added.
Eventually by the late 1940s overcrowding became a serious issue, big enough to call for a larger school building to be built elsewhere in Colona. It was decided to eliminate high school education in 1948 in order to accomodate the grade school level, thus ending the history of high school education in Colona. The high school went back to two years in 1946.
Elementary-aged students from town attend school at the new Colona School, built in 1949. The old building has since been reduced to one story, and was converted into apartments.
A book by long-time Colona-area resident Joann Hawthorne Terry entitled “Fading Footsteps” is available at the Colona library for reading. The book, written in 2005, has an excellent history of the Colona school, including that of high school education.
Colona High School Quick Facts
Year old building opened: 1872
Year HS opened: 1924
Year HS closed: 1948
HS students attend: Geneseo School District
Colona HS team nickname: ?
Colona HS team colors: ?
School Fight Song: ?
Former Colona HS – now apartments