Deer Creek High School “Deer”

Deer Creek High School Building 1947
A black and white photo of a house with trees and bushes in front

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Submitterd by Robert A. Chaffer
Deer Creek – Mackinaw Grade School 2007
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Former Deer Creek High School

The History of Deer Creek High School

Deer Creek (population 605) is located in north central Illinois in eastern Tazwell County. U.S. Route 150 runs through the south edge of town. Deer Creek is approximately 15 miles southeast of Peoria. The Norfolk & Western Railroad also runs through the town of Deer Creek..

According to the town’s official web site,, Deer Creek was established in 1830.  The town was named after the creek that ran by the northwest side of town (now known as Mud Creek) and the herd of red deer that used to visit the creek for drinking purposes.

The first school was established in Deer Creek in 1835 at the home of Edward Durham with Nancy Parker becoming the first teacher.  It was probably in the late 1800s that high school courses started being offered at Deer Creek School.  An actual high school may have been established as late as the early 1900s, this information is in need of research.  It is known that Deer Creek High School served the town of Deer Creek through at least 1948.  At that point the towns of Deer Creek and Mackinaw (located 8 miles south of Deer Creek) decided to consolidate their efforts.  The result was the creation of the Deer Creek-Mackinaw School District.

Robert A. Chaffer adds the following information about Deer Creek:

I am too young to have attended that high school but my father, his brother, and his sister all graduated from Deer Creek H. S.

The school mentioned as established in 1835 was a one-room country school which existed in several iterations until 1948. The location of that country school was at the original site of what became Deer Creek but it is about 2.5 miles southwest of Deer Creek’s modern location. The very small town moved twice before taking root at its current site when the railroad was built through the township. I attended that country school (which was known as the Chaffer School) for three years until 1948 when the Deer Creek-Mackinaw Consolidated School District was formed. As part of the consolidation, Deer Creek High School was repurposed as Deer Creek Grade School (grades 1-8) and the high school of the district was located in Mackinaw.”

The high school for “DeeMack” is located in Mackinaw.  Grades 4 – 6 attend school in Deer Creek.  It is not currently known if the Deer Creek Grade School building pictured above is the former Deer Creek High School building.  For more information on Dee-Mack High School go to

Deer Creek High School Quick Facts

Year opened:                 late 1800s

Year closed:                  1948

Consolidated to:             Deer Creek-Mackinaw High School

School nickname:          the “Deer”

School colors:               Blue & White

School Fight Song:        unavailable


The Deer Creek High School Deer definately competed in boys basketball.  It is thought that baseball and track may have been offered as well.  However there is no mention of the Deer Creek High School athletic program winning any IHSA hardware during its existence.  We are hopeful an area resident can help us here by filling in the missing information.


We know that the Deer Creek High School boys competed in basketball.  We are searching for more season records and accomplishments.

1925-26   12 – 8

1926-27                Tazwell County Tourney Champs

The Deer Creek High School Deer of 1927 had a good run.  The boys won the Tazwell County Championship as was told to us by Robert A. Chaffer:

“I am attaching a photo of the Deer Creek High School basketball team from about 1927. My father and uncle are included. I believe that the plaque being displayed indicates that the team won the Tazewell County championship that year.” 

Deer Creek HS Basketball Team of 1927
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Submitted by Robert A. Chaffer


**From Robert A. Chaffer:

“A school annual was published in 1952 when I was in the 7th grade at the Deer Creek Grade School that had been the Deer Creek High School in 1947. The attached picture of the school building was included on page 1. It appears to be the same building with a little remodeling of windows etc in the newer version.

I also found the season schedule and record of the 1925-26 Deer Creek boys basketball team. They won 12 and lost 8 games (one of the wins was against the alumni team.) They had a high-powered scoring machine, rolling up 30 or more points on four occasions. No opponent scored over 26. Part of their success was due to Theodore (Ted) Maybee who played “standing guard” and was over 6 ft. in height.”

Need your Assistance

If you have ANY further information about Deer Creek High School and its historic past, please send it to us via e-mail.  Athletic accomplishments, as well as overall high school information is being sought.  Photos and information can be sent 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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