The History of Ela-Vernon High School of Lake Zurich
Lake Zurich (population 19,005) is located in far northeastern Illinois about 35 miles northwest of Chicago. Illinois Route 22 and Illinois Route 12 both lead you to and from Lake Zurich. A body of water known as Lake Zurich sits to the west of town.
The Wikipedia web site http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Zurich%2C_Illinois has the following historical information listed for Lake Zurich:
“The area of Lake Zurich was first settled by Europeans in the 1830s. Two early pioneers were George Ela, after whom the Ela township is named, and Seth Paine, who established a number of commercial ventures in the town. New England farmers moved to the area in the 1830s and 1840s, and German immigrants began to move to the area from the middle of the century. The village of Lake Zurich was incorporated on September 19th, 1896. It remained primarily a farming community; although the village was connected to the railroad in 1910, the line was closed ten years later. However, the arrival of the highway system with Rand Road, US Route 12 in 1922 and Half Day Road, Illinois Route 22 in 1927 established Lake Zurich as a convenient summer resort. The now-defunct Palatine, Lake Zurich and Wauconda Railroad also served the community. Housing development began in the 1950s, with the population expanding throughout the latter part of the 20th century.”
We are certain that high schools were established in the Lake County townships of Ela and Vernon in the late 1800s, though this may not have occurred until the early 1900’s. The two township high schools functioned independently until the late 1920’s. The year was 1929, in fact, that the residents of both townships agreed to pool there educational resources. This resulted in the creation of Ela-Vernon Township High School. The high school was located in Lake Zurich.
Ela-Vernon High School served the area nicely until efforts to change the school system took place in the early 1960’s. The school had an enrollment for grades 9 – 12 hovering in the mid-300’s each year. However, voters decided it was time to go their separate ways. The folks of Vernon Township chose to develop their own high school now know as Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire. The folks of Ela Township simply named their high school Lake Zurich High School. This occurred in 1965.
The fate of the original Ela-Vernon Township High School building is, so far, a good one. An anonymous fan of the Glory Days site tells us “the original Ela-Vernon HS building is still standing and is now being used as a grade school while the May Whitney Grade School is being cleaned up from damage caused by a flood in 2007.”
Ela-Vernon High School Quick Facts
Year established: 1929
Year closed: 1965
Consolidated to: Stevenson & Lake Zurich High Schools
Ela-Vernon HS team nickname: the “Bears”
Ela-Vernon HS team colors: Blue & White
School Fight Song: “We’re Loyal To You”
University of Illinois Fight Song Tune
Information courtesy of Sue Dewitz Jenks