The History of Bethel High School in Dixon
Dixon (population 16,000) is located along the Rock River in Lee County in Northwestern Illinois. Illinois Routes 2, 38, 26 as well as U.S. Route 52 and Interstate 88 all lead you to the “Petunia Capital of the World”. The “Overland Route” of the Union Pacific railroad runs through the south part of town and the Illinois Central once did.
Educational studies were not too far to find for Dixon residents. In addition to primary education, Dixon was also home to the Rock River Military Academy, Rock River University, Steinman Institute, Dixon Business College, and Northern Illinois State Normal School.
The city is located on both sides of the Rock River, settled on the North side and the South side. The Bethel Evangelical Congregational Church is one of the oldest churches and Dixon, and is currently located on North Court in the north side of Dixon. For many years, the church offered grade school education, and in the late 1970s and early 1980s, talks of expanding its curriculum to offer high school education were in the works.
High school classes started in the church basement in the fall of 1983, before the building of the ministry center. By that time, junior high students from the Faith Christian School (run by the Faith Assembly Church of Grand Detour) began attending Bethel.
When a new Faith Christian campus opened north of nearby Grand Detour in 1986, the junior high students began attending that school. High school students were moved to Faith from Bethel in 1988, bringing an end to high school education at the Bethel School. A total of 6 graduating classes of seniors earned their diplomas at Bethel Christian High School.
Today, Bethel Evangelical Congregational is a strong supporter of the Faith Christian School, which continues to operate today. The ministry center building which housed the high school students continues to serve the needs of the church.
Bethel High School “Quick Facts”
Year opened: 1983
Year closed: 1988
Athletic Team Nickname: “Crusaders”
Team Colors: Maroon & Yellow