Edwardsville Lincoln High School “Trojans”

Edwardsville Lincoln High School
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Submitted by Ryan Downey, Submitted by Dennis Downey
Edwardsville Lincoln High School Inscription
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Courtesy of Ryan Downey, Submitted by Dennis Downey

The History of Edwardsville Lincoln High School

Edwardsville (population 21,491) is located in southwestern Illinois in the center of Madison County.  Edwardsville is located about 15 miles northeast of East St. Louis.  It is, in fact, the county seat of Madison County.  The Illinois Routes of 143, 157, and 159 all lead you to and from Edwardsville.  Interstate Highway 55 is located about 2 miles east of Edwardsville.  Dunlap Lake is located on the cities southeast side.  The Chicago & Northwestern Railroad travels through town as well.

According to the Wikipedia website address of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwardsville,_Illinois , Edwardsville is Illiinois’ third oldest city, having been incorporated in 1818.  THe town is named after Illinois’ territorial governor, Ninian Edwards.  An excellent and thorough history of the town can be viewed on its official webpage of http://www.cityofedwardsville.com/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC={15BE8CDF-3B28-4D2C-8273-849C0954800F}

A nice history of the Edwardsville School system is located on the Edwardsville Community School District website.  The information can be viewed on the webpage located at http://www.ecusd7.org/about_us/history.asp .  The following is the information in regards to Lincoln High School’s history:

“In 1877, a free school for black children was opened in a building that had formerly been used as the county courthouse. The building, located in “lower town” (North Main Street), would eventually become Lincoln School.

In 1911, a petition was brought to the Board of Education asking for the erection of a new building for black students. The old building was razed, and a new, larger Lincoln School was built on the same North Main Street Site in 1912. A two-year high school department was also added to Lincoln at that time.

In 1949, the first steps were taken toward a highly significant and long overdue event in the Edwardsville district: the integration of its schools. First, the high school department of Lincoln School was consolidated with Edwardsville High School. Then, in 1951, all city elementary schools were integrated, with Lincoln School also reopening one year later as an integrated elementary school.”

The following timeline was found in the the Belleville News-Democrat found at http://www.bnd.com/living/story/238567.html by our good friend Mark Jurenga:

1869 — Madison County’s old circuit clerk’s office is designated as Edwardsville’s “colored” school.

1912 — Lincoln School opens at 1210 N. Main St. in Edwardsville.

1935 — Curriculum is expanded to include 11th grade.

1939 — Edwardsville School District adds two more classrooms and a gymnasium.

1940 — Curriculum is expanded to include 12th grade.

1951 — School district is integrated and Lincoln is closed for renovation.

1952 — Lincoln opens as an integrated elementary school.

1972 — School is closed because it’s “unnecessary, unsuitable and inconvenient.”

1978 — Building is sold to local businessman, who converts it into Old Edwardsville Town Square

shopping mall.

1999 — Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity buys building and converts it into a fraternity house.

2005 — Fraternity moves out and lists the building for sale.

2007 — The Bank of Edwardsville acquires building at public auction

There is great news for the future of this grand and historic building which was presented to us by Nola Jones Williams:

“My name is Nola Jones Williams.  I am the granddaughter of Lincoln School’s principal, Mr. Christopher Columbus (C. C.) Jones. Grandpa was at Lincoln School from 1902-1950, 48 years!  In 1986 those persons who had attended the historic Lincoln School held a reunion.  I wanted to attend, but the event was closed, due to space limitations, to persons and partners of schools’ alumni. That did not include me.

I wrote a book–Lincoln School Memories, A History of Blacks in Edwardsville, Illinois.  The book became my “ticket” to attend the reunion and to actually speak at the historic event.

Next summer (2015) the Lincoln School building is going to open for use again. The material you have published on the internet is “dated” in that there is more to the story, and it is very exciting:  Mannie Jackson purchased the building from the bank, has donated the building to the Lewis and Clark Community College system, and next August the building is scheduled to open as the Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities…

Your contact for actuate information on the future of the building is Lewis and Clark Community College System in Godfrey, IL.  I am excited beyond words!”

Murals on the Walls of Lincoln High School
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Submitted by Ryan Downey, Submitted by Dennis Downey
Inscription on mural above states:

“We were segregated, but against great odds, learning, life skills, and education took place in this building.” “Herman Shaw

Unfortunately, with the 2015 renovation of the building, the mural has been taken down.

Edwardsville Lincoln High School Quick Facts

Year 2-year HS opened:             1912

Year 3-year HS offered:              1935

Year 4-year HS offered:              1940

Year closed:                                1951

Consolidated to:                           Edwardsville Community Unit School District 7

Ed. Lincoln HS team nickname:   “Trojans”

Ed. Lincoln HS team colors:        Blue & White

School Fight Song:                      unavailable


As you can see in the mural above, the Edwardsville Lincoln High School “Trojans” competed in basketball as part of the athletic program.  Baseball and track may have been on order as well for the boys.  If you have any further information regarding this aspect of Lincoln High in Edwardsville please share it with us.

Memories & Facts

**From Nola Jones Williams:

“RE:  Lincoln School; 1210 N. Main St., Edwardsville, IL

They (Lincoln School teams) were basketball powerhouses.  I recently researched the Lincoln Trojans in the local paper, Edwardsville Intelligencer.

What I learned is that there was a high school team and a grade school team.  Sometimes their games also included a game with a team called “Edwardsville All-Stars”.  A 1951 newspaper article says that the Lincoln Trojans did not lose any games on the home court from 1946-1951!  They were awesome!

The list of schools played in basketball seems to be synonymous with “closed schools” in southern Illinois and St. Louis County.  The Lincoln Trojans played Pocahontas Indians, St. Jacobs, Mulberry Grove, E. St. Louis Lincoln Tigers, Lovejoy in Alton, Fillmore, Livingston, Festus Trojans, Milton Turner in Kirkwood, Kinloch, Sorento Greyhounds, Worden, Madison Dunbar Bears, St. Charles, Venice, Coffeen, Lovejoy (Brooklyn), and St. Paul (Highland).

There is much more.  I suggest that you look at Lincoln School Memories, follow what is happening over the next year, and look in local newspaper for information from the past 100 plus years.

I love what you have published!”

Extra-Curricular Activities

Other activities of interest may have included dances, plays, band, chorus, and various clubs.  If you have any information please contact us via the means listed below.

Famous Alum

Mannie Jackson, part owner of the Harlem Globetrotters, attended Edwardsville Lincoln before finishing his high school education at Edwardsville High.

Seeking Information

If you have any information regarding the former Edwardsville Lincoln High School please write to us via e-mail at ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net.  You can also write to us via real mail at:

IHSGD Website

6439 N. Neva Ave.

Chicago, Il.  60631 

Photo by Ryan Downey, Courtesy of Dennis Downey
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