DeWitt High School

DeWitt High School Building – 2010
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Courtesy of Dennis Downey
DeWitt School Side View
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Thank you to Dennis Downey

The History of DeWitt High School

The town of DeWitt (population 188) is located in eastern DeWitt County. Illinois Route 54 runs through the center of town and connects DeWitt with its neighbor ten miles to the northeast, Clinton. A town of note near DeWitt is Champaign located about 30 miles to the southeast. The Illinois Central Gulf Railroad also runs through town.

DeWitt was settled in 1832 as Marion, although that would change in 1837 after learning there was another community called Marion in southern Illinois. The town founders, Benjamin S. Day, James Morrison, James McCord, Z.G. Cantrell, and Jame Hutchison, were involved in settling, then surveying and plotting the town from 1834 to 1837. DeWitt was incorporated in 1879.

DeWitt School Rear View
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Taken by Dennis Downey

The DeWitt school system began in 1836 and evolved over the years to the point that two years of high school were taught in the late 1890’s. A new building was built in 1911 after a fire, and the new school contained a gymnasium on the second floor. DeWitt students then went to nearby Weldon for grades 11 & 12 to receive their diplomas. A reorganization of school districts all over the state took place in the mid-1940’s and changed that when DeWitt decided to annex the school into the Clinton School System.

The school building in DeWitt served as a grade school for the Clinton school system until 1971. It still stands proudly in DeWitt, though a mere shell of its former greatness due to being weather-beaten.

DeWitt High School Quick Facts

Year opened:                 1890’s

Year closed:                  mid-1940’s

Grade school closed:     1971

School nickname:          unavailable

School colors:               unavailable

School Fight Song:        unavailable


DeWitt High School offered basketball for the boys. Also offered may have been the sports of baseball and track. Further information is needed regarding the exploits of DeWitt High. We are sure there are some great stories of the successes of the athletic teams and accomplishments of the students of DWHS.


**From Deb Peavey:

“i actually went to school at DeWitt Illinois for my fifth grade and my sisters Evelyn and Lori Ann also went to school their in 1970-71. Right before they closed it and we went to Clinton Illinois. Is it for sale cause im interested in it. My sister’s names were seen on the blackboard in the 1st & 2nd grade room. It would be Evelyn Sue and Lori Ann Peavey.

**From Vernon Troxel:

“I recall playing basketball in the DeWitt gym, probably early 40’s.  The backboards touched the ceiling.  The locals knew how to pass.  We visitors hit the ceiling.  We dressed in the coal bin. I played for Wapella.”

**From Dennis Downey:

“While traveling down Ill. 54 on Tuesday, I stopped in Dewitt (pop. 200). Here is what I found of the Dewitt school on the southeastern section of the town. There is one main street with one store, a small park, a township hall, and the neat remains of the school. Here are four pictures.”

Need Your Help

We are hopeful an area “buff” will fill in the open areas regarding the history and accomplishments of DeWitt High School. If you have any information you can offer, please complete a CONTACT US form. We would really like to share a photo of the old school building and students of the DeWitt High School historic past. You can e-mail us photos at or write to us at:

Illinois HS Glory Days

6439 N. Neva St.

Chicago,  Il.   60631

DeWitt School Side View
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Submitted by Dennis Downey

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