Denver High School

Former Denver Grade School Building 2012
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Denver Church Building 2012
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Photo by Roberta Van Briesen

The History of Denver High School

Denver (population approximately 100) is located in western Illinois in the south-central portion of Hancock County. According to ‘Google” maps Denver is 2 blocks from west to east and 2 blocks from north to south. Denver is situated on County Highway 19 about one mile east of Illinois Route 94 / 110. Denver is about eight miles south of the county seat of Carthage and 30 miles east and a little north of Quincy.

According tot he web address of

Denver was “laid out” in the late 1860s by two men named S.C. Seybold and G.W. Bush.  The post office for the town was originally called “Rough and Ready”. The first Christian Church in Denver was built in 1873.

A brief history of the former Denver High School was sent to us by local historian Keith Bruns:

“The photo of the Denver school (above) is not of the former high school building. It may be a former school building, but I am not sure. The high school building was sold at public auction on June 23, 1962 and was razed and a new home built on the site. In 1915 an accredited two year high school was established. In 1920 a third year was added. From 1927 to 1930 the high school was discontinued for lack of pupils but it was resumed in 1930. The record I have states that the high school was a three year school until 1938.

The Denver Christian Church building was built in 1917 after the building built in 1873 was destroyed by fire. The high school pupils were to give a play at the church the evening it caught fire and burned to the ground. A faulty pressure-gasoline light caused the fire. The school used the churches because the school did not have an auditorium for large gatherings.”

More evidence that Denver once supported a high school was located on the web address of . This site lists IHSA Boys Basketball tourament results from 1922 – 1988. In the 1936 District Tournament held at Carthage it is listed that Denver High School played against Nauvoo High School in a first round match-up (result listed below).

We know that Denver High School was open in 1916 and, except for a brief three year period, ran continuously until it closed in 1938.  We believe the school was consolidated into the Carthage Hancock Central School District. The children of Denver today attend high school in Carthage as a part of the Illini West School District.

We are seeking further information on the history of Denver and its former high school. Please contact us via the means at the bottom of this page if you have any information to share.

Denver High School Quick Facts

Year opened:                             1915 (2-year HS)

Year 3-year HS began:               1920

Stopped due to lack of students: 1927

Restarted as 3-year HS:             1930

Year closed:                              1938

Consolidated to:                         Carthage Hancock Central (now Illini West)

Team nickname:                         ??

Team uniform colors:                   ??

School Fight Song:                      ??


As stated in the history section, we know that Denver High School boys participated in basketball. It is possible that baseball and track may have been offered as well. We are in need of the Denver High School team nickname, uniform colors, fight song, coaches names, and season records.


The Denver High School boys competed in the 1936 District Tournament in Carthage. The boys played Nauvoo High School in the first round and were defeated 45 – 15 ( The Nauvoo boys were defeated in the next round of the tournament.


School plays, chorus, band, and other clubs were likely a part of the high school experience in Denver. Please send us a note if you have information on these activities as well.


If you have further information regarding the city of Denver and / or Denver High School please contact us via e-mail at You can also contact us via the U.S. Postal Service at the following address:

IHSGD Website

6439 N. Neva Ave.

Chicago, IL.   60631 

Denver Bank Building 2012
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Photo by Roberta Van Briesen
Denver Building 2012
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Photo by Roberta Van Briesen
Denver Building 2012
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Photo by Roberta Van Briesen

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