The village of Dana (population 171) sits quietly in the lower southwestern portion of LaSalle County. Il. Route 179 makes a sharp turn from the north to the west in the middle of Dana and runs about 6 miles to the west before intersecting with Interstate Highway 39. The At & St Railroad also runs on an angle from the southwest to the northeast directly through the center of town.
According to the book “Place Names of Illinois” by Edward Callary, Dana was established in the 1860s to early 1870s and was originally named Martin after one of the land owners named John Martin. The name of the town was changed to Conklin soon after, though no reason was provided. In 1873 the Chicago, Pekin, & Southwestern Railroad made its say through town. The town name was then changed to Dana in honor of the railroad’s superintendent, Thomas Dana.
The origin of the Dana school system is in need of research. The school system was probably initiated in the late 1800s / early 1900s. It is known that Dana supported its own school, which included a high school, through the 1948-49 school year. It was then, as with many small towns of that year, that Dana High School was closed. The students of the 1949-50 school year attended class in nearby Minonk.
Dana High School Building Artists Rendition
Streator Times Newspaper, May 27, 1921 / Submitted by Joe Voss
The students of Dana today still attend school in Minonk, now as part of the Fieldcrest School District. According to former student Kristi A. Terry, Dana’s school building continued its use as a grade school for the Minonk-Dana-Rutland school district through 1978. In that year the Dana school was closed and the children bussed to Minonk to complete their education.
The High School building still stands at the south edge of town, a little run down, yet serving proudly as a reminder of Dana’s great history. If you have information regarding the school please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Dana High School Quick Facts
Year opened: late 1800s / early 1900s
Year closed: 1949
Year last served as a school: 1978
Consolidated to: Minonk-Dana High School
School nickname: the “Demons” (possibly Devils)
School colors: Purple & Gold
School Fight Song: unavailable
Dana High School Rear View
Gymnasium Windows on Left
The Dana High School Demons competed in boys basketball and probably track and baseball as most small towns of its day. IHSA hardware was earned in basketball; however, there is no mention of any other sport on the site (www.ihsa.org).
The Dana Demons earned two IHSA District titles during their existence. Those years are listed below. Unfortunately, the team records and coaches names are not available. We are hopeful an area fan or alum can provide further information regarding Dana’s boys basketball program.
The photo of the Dana High School scoreboard shown below was submitted by James Bane who provided this bit of information:
“I have the scoreboard that was used in the school. I was told it was installed sometime in the 50’s. My ather John Bane purchased at the school auction and we used in our farm shop when we played ball.’
Dana High School Scoreboard 2018
Submitted by James Bane
1932-33 Wenona District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd Lost to Long Point 33-18
Long Point won District Championship
1933-34 Wenona District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd Lost to Tonica 25-16
Tonica lost in 2nd round
1934-35 Wenona District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd Lost to Toluca 39-16
Tonica lost in 2nd round
1935-36 Wenona District Champs! Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd Beat Magnolia 27-16
Semi-final Beat Long Point
TItle Game Beat Lostant 28-21
Wenona Regional Tourney
1st Rd lost to Granville 25-12
Granville lost in title game
1936-37 through 1938-39 Postseason scores, record, and coaches’ names needed
1939-40 Wenona District Champs Coach Lyle Lawson
Early Rd Scores Needed
Title Game Beat Wenona 36-33
Wenona Regional Tournament
1st Rd Beat Minonk 28-27
Semi-final lost to Granville 36-21
Granville beat Toluca in title game
1940-41Wenona District Runner-Up Coach Lyle Lawson
1st Rd Beat Magnolia 26-23
Semi-final Beat Long Point 30-26
Title Game lost to Sparland 29-23
1941-42 Wenona Regional Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
Dana did not compete in District tourney
Wenona Regional Scores
1st Rd Lost to Wenona 43-32
Wenona lost in title game
1942-43 Varna District Runner-Up Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd Beat Long Point 65-18
Semi-final Beat Rutland 33-29
Title Game lost to Lostant 36-31
1943-44 Postseason scores, record, and coaches’ names needed.
1944-45 Varna District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd Beat Tonica 39-31
Semi-final lost to Rutland 54-39
Rutland beat Varna in title game
1945-46 Varna District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
Semi-final Lost to Tonica 49-30
Tonica lost in title game
1946-47 Varna District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd Beat Hennepin 58-24
2nd Rd Lost to Tonica 42-31
Long Point Beat Rutland I title game
1947-48 Varna District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd lost to Sparland 52-50
Toluca beat Tonica in title game
1948-49 Varna District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd Beat Tonica 39-32
**Semi-final lost to Long Point 48-31
Long Point won District title
**Last game played by Dana High School. Consolidated with Minonk High School in the Fall of 1949 to form Minonk-Dana High School.
Track & Field
It is a fact that Dana High School offered Track & Field. Though no IHSA hardware was won, one interesting story emerged recently. According to a Minonk-Dana graduate the Dana High School track team of the mid-1940s consisted of one athlete. His name was Gene O’Connell and it is believed in some meets he competed in every event (except relay races of course).
Dana High School also had girls basketball, at least through the early 1920s. The photo below was submitted by Connie Cinnamon. It is a photo of the Dana “Hot Shots” girls basketball team of 1922-23. Connie’s mother, Anna Swanberg Cinnamon, is seated in the front row in the center and is holding the basketball.
Dana HS Girls Basketball Team 1922-23
Submitted by Connie Cinnamon – Anna Swanberg Cinnamon Holding Ball
From Diane Crook:
“I’m enjoying your website which got me digging through an old box of clippings I inherited from my mother She saved clippings of all the Dana Cagers games from when my dad, Gerald Clegg was center. I also have tournament flyers from the IHSA district tournaments for 1938, 1939, and 1942. She filled in the scores and the winners. I will copy & send when I have a chance. There is an article about the Dana basketball banquet which was decorated in purple and gold which I think were the school’s colors.”
Dana HS Class of 1924
Submitted by Connie Cinnamon – Anna Swanberg Cinnamon in Front Row on Right
Need Your In-Put
The great stories of Dana High School and its many successes may be fading fast. We need your help to record them and share them with others before they are lost forever. If you have a photo of the school and/or other activities by the students please e-mail them to us at email@example.com. You can also write to us at: