The History of Colusa High School
Colusa (estimated population 25) is located in upper-far-western Illinois about 25 miles northwest of Macomb. This little hamlet is located in the north-central area of Hancock County. According to Map Quest (www.mapquest.com) Colusa is about two blocks long from north to south and one block wide from the east to the west. Colusa is situated on County Roadway 1750 between roadways 2500 and 2600. The nearest well-traveled roadway might be Illinois Route 94 located 1 1/2 miles to the east of Colusa. Colusa has a distinction of being both ten miles east of the Mississppi River and four miles south of the Mississippi River. Branches of the Camp Creek flow to the west and east of town. An unnamed set of railroad tracks runs through town as well. The most efficient business in Colusa appears to be the Colusa Grain Elevator.
Donald Hopkins provided us with this bit of information regrading Colusa’s railroad system and its future partner Nauvoo:
“Nauvoo is right on the banks of the Mississippi river and is nine miles west of Colusa. The old railroad trakcs through Colusa are the old Chicago–Burlinton–Quincy Railroad. The tracks ran from Burlington, Iowa, through Lomax, Dallas City, Colusa, Adrian, Ferris, Carthage, Bentley, Denver in Illinois on down to Quincy, Illinois.Known as the CB&Q, it merged with the Great Northern and became the Burlington Northern and a few years ago it merged again with the Santa Fe.”
Colusa and the surrounding farmlands have been supporting a school system since the late 1800s. A high school was developed in Colusa in 1910. We are sure Colusa High School was supported through the early 1960s. It was then that Colusa High School supporters agreed to consolidate their efforts with Nauvoo, nine miles to the east. This effort resulted in the creation of the Nauvoo-Colusa School District. The consolidation was made official after the 1961 school year.
The Colusa school building continued to be used as a grade school/junior high (grades 5 – 8) for the Nauvoo-Colusa District, however it is no longer used in that capacity today. The Colusa School was closed in 1969 and is now used for storage by the Colusa Grain Elevator. As the photo from Henry Neff shows, it was in pretty decent condition.
However, sadly, this building has met an all to familiar fate. As Steve Jones, who attended the school from 1957 – 1964, tells us:
“The Colusa School building was demolished in 2009. The brick and morter may be gone but the fond memories from grades one through eight remain.”
A nice history of the Colusa School District can be read at the following web address: http://hancock.ilgenweb.net/photos/millercoxfam/target10.html . Thank you to Roberta Van Briesen for this excellent find.
Colusa High School Quick Facts
Year opened: 1910
Year closed: 1961
Consolidated to: Nauvoo-Colusa School District
Colusa HS team nickname: the “Wildcats”
Colusa team colors: Purple & Gold
School FIght Song: “On Colusa”
Sung to “On Wisconsin”
Click “play” button below for On Colusa tune!