Donnellson High School

Donnellson High School Gymnasium – 2010
A brick building with windows

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Submitted by Dennis Downey

The History of Donnellson High School

Donnellson (population 243) is located in southeast-central Illinois in the far south-central portion of Montogmery County. A small portion of Donnellson actually sits in Bond County.  Illinois Route 127 is the main roadway to and from Donnellson.  The Norfolk Southern Railroad passes through the north side of Donnellson and likely played a major role in the town’s early development. Donnellson sits approximately 40 miles northeast of East St. Louis and 50 miles south (and a little east) of Springfield.

The following history of the town of Donnellson was provided by Gerry Halpin:

“Donnellson was originally known as Bear Creek.  A post office was established there around 1830.  The name was changed to Donnellson in 1861, but the town was not incorporated until 1897.  The town received its name from a man named Thomas Carson Donnell, a veteran of the Black Hawk War. Although Donnellson was not a coal-mining town, the large mine at Panama (3 miles away) provided a large number of jobs for the area between 1905 and 1930.”

A school house was probably established in the mid-1800s. As with other schools for towns the size of Donnellson, it is probable that high school curriculum was started in the early 1900s. We know that Donnellson High School indeed existed. Evidence of this was found in Greenville High School yearbooks (1922, 1923, 1933) reviewed by Mark Jurenga. The yearbooks reported the scores of the District Basketball Tournament in the area and Donnellson is mentioned in each individual book.

Donnellson High School probably closed in 1945.  It was consolidated to Hillsboro High School to become a part of the Hillsboro Community School District.

Donnellson School Complex – 2010
A picture containing text, sky, outdoor

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Courtesy of Dennis Downey

The Donnellson High School building appears to have been razed. The gymnaisum is still standing and is likely part of a small elementary school pictured above..

Donnellson High School Quick Facts

Year opened:                              early 1900s?

Year closed :                              1945?

Consolidated to:                          Hillsboro School District

Donnellson HS team nickname:  unavailable

Donnellson HS team colros:        Green & White

School Fight Song:                      unavailable

Inscription on the Donnellson HS Gymnasium
A picture containing text, rug, furniture

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Submitted by Dennis Downey


We know that Donnellson High School competed in boys basketball and track, probably baseball as well.  The boys were not able to win a District tournament or any IHSA hardware.  We believe the boys competed in baseball and track as well.  The team nickname, team uniform colors, school fight song, coach’s names, and team records of Donnellson High School are all items we are interested in.

Boys Basketball

The boys of Donnellson High School competed in basketball for certain. We found several scores involving Donnellson HS in the IHSA State Tournament on a website titled “Illinois Postseason Basketball Scores.” These scores are printed below We are searching for season records and coach’s names of these and other DHS teams.

1921-22                Hillsboro District Tournament             Coach’s name & record needed.

1st Rd Beat Irving 18-14

                             2nd Rd lost to Witt 35-18

Witt lost to Greenville in title game

1922-23 through 1932-33  Postseason scores, records, and coaches’ names needed.

1933-34                Vandalia District Tournament             Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd lost to Sorento 49-4

Sorento lost in 2nd Rd

1934-35                Hillsboro District Tournament             Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd lost to Panama 21-6

Panama lost in 2nd Rd.

1935-36                Morrisonville District Tournament       Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd lost to Raymond 35-8

Raymond lost in semi-final

1936-37 through 1943-44  Postseason scores, records, and coaches’ names needed.

1944-45                Sorento District Tournament              Coach’s name & record needed

*1st Rd lost to Fillmore 82-9

Fillmore lost in semi-final round

*Possibly final game for Donnellson High School basketball program.

**According to the IHSA website ( on January 18, 1945, the Donnellson basketball team ran into the great Irving Eagles team.  Irving ’s Dale White scored 64 points that night, as Donnellson was defeated by a score of 122 to 13. This 109 point difference ranks as the 17th all-time largest margin of victory for a single game.

We know there has to be some good highlights of the Donnellson HS boys basketball program.  If you have knowledge of these, please share them with us.


We know that the boys competed on the grid iron in the early 1900s.  They competed with a much larger school in Hillsboro High twice in 1905, losing both games in a tight contest by scores of 12 – 5 and 17 – 0.

Thank you to our good friend Mark Jurenga for this bit of information.

Extra-Curricular Activities

School plays, dances, clubs, bon fires, and many other activities were likely a part of the Donnellson High School experience.  If you have any of this information please share it with us as well.



**From Bea Brown:

“I attended Donnellson Grade School  from 1947 thru the 8th grade and graduated in 1956.  At that time there was no High School.  High school students were transported to Hillsboro.   One or two  years after I graduated from Donnellson, they transferred the junior high students to Hillsboro Jr. High.”

Seekin Your Assistance

We are always seeking more information regarding the city of Donnellson and its high school. If you wish to share any information with us, please complete a School Submission Form or a Guest Commentary Form. As always, we are particularly interested in photos of the old high school building or of the successful sports teams or individuals at Donnellson. You can e-mail us at  You may also write us at:

Illinois HS Glory Days

6439 N. Neva St.

Chicago, Il.     60631

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