Elkhart High School “Redbirds”

Original Elkhart High School Building
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Now a Community & Lutheran Center
Elkhart School Complex Rear View
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The History of Elkhart High School

Elkhart (population 443) is located in central Illinois about 10 miles southwest of Lincoln and 15 miles northeast of Springfield.  Interstate Highway 55 is the main roadway to and from this southwestern Logan County town. The Illinois Central Gulf Railroad line runs through Elkhart parallel to I-55.

Elkhart was platted in 1855 and eventually officially incorporated by the state of Illinois in 1861.  Originally, and for over a century, the town was known as Elkhart CIty.  Due to technicalities the name was changed to simply Elkhart in 1979.  There is a great history of the town available on its website www.elkhartillinois.com .

The first school building was set in place in 1855 as well.  We are lacking for any in-depth school history of Elkhart.  It is probable that a high school curriculum was in place in Elkhart by the late 1800s.  Elkhart High School did exist for many years, well over seven decades in fact.  It was in 1974 that Elkhart High School was deactivated. The high school-aged kids of Elkhart now attend school in nearby Mt. Pulaski.

Elkhart is still home to a grade school for kids in grades K – 8.  The original Elkhart High School building however has been raised.  The only remaining part of the original school is pictured above, now used as a bus garage.

Elkhart High School Quick Facts

Year opened:                            late 1800s

Year closed:                             1974

Consolidated to:                        Mt. Pulaski High School

Elkhart team nickname:             the “Redbirds”

Team colors:                             Red & White

School Fight Song:                   “We’re Loyal To You Elkhart High”

 We’re loyal to you Elkhart High

                                                We’re red and we’re white, Elkhart High

                                                We’ll back you to stand

                                                ‘Gainst the best in the land

                                                For we know you have sand, Elkhart High

                                                Rah! Rah!

                                                So crack out the ball, Elkhart High

                                                We’re backing you all, Elkhart High

                                                Our team is our fame protector:

                                                On! Boys for we expect a

                                                Victory from you Elkhart High!

Elkhart HS Original Gym
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Elkhart HS Gym Original Interior 2010
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Elkhart High School’s Redbirds definitely offered boys basketball (www.ihsa.org).  It is probable that baseball and track were offered as well.  We are not sure if the school was open past 1974 to participate in girls athletics.  This information as well as school fight song and conference affiliation are being sought.

Class of 1974 alum Mark Anderson, whose father Bill is also an Elkhart alum,  recalled this about his playing days at Elkhart High:

“Boys athletics included basketball, baseball, track, and cross-country. There were no girls sports then, but they did have the old “GAC”….Girls Athletic Club. Joe Zimmerman of Sherman was the coach during my time at Elkhart. He was a great coach and was an absolute authority on baseball!

Our basketball team went from 8-16 my freshman year, Joe’s first year there to 21-7 and a regional championship my senior year!  We were a member of the old LincolnLand Conference which included AtlantaNew Holland-Middletown, Hartsburg-Emden, San JoseEaston, Greenview, and later on Wapella.”

Boys Basketball

Pride, that is what the Elkhart basketball program brought to the town of Elkhart.  The Elkhart Redbirds won no less that EIGHT District titles and one Regional tilte!  The titles were spread out over five different decades.  Unfortunately this is all of the information we currently have available. Coaches names and team records of these and other great Elkhart teams are being sought.

1927-28                  Logan County Tourney Champs  Coach Ernest Smith

1928-29                  District Champions
1943-44    25 – 6      District Champions
1949-50                  District Champions
1957-58                  District Champions
1963-64                  District Champions
1965-66                  District Champions
1966-67                  District Champions
1969-70                  District Champions
1973-74    21 – 7      Regional Champions                  Coach Joe Zimmerman

Special Thank You

The photos on this page are courtesy of Jon, Jim, and Dan Wheat who spent a sunny Sunday afternoon in January (2006) getting the photos and remembering the great past of Elkhart High.

Seeking More Information

Help us record the great stories and facts of Elkhart High School. As always, we are looking for school photos and items to share with others. You can e-mail us photos and information at ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net . You can also write to us at:

Illinois HS Glory Days

6439 N. Neva St.

Chicago,  Il.    60631

Elkhart High School Building
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Elkhart, Illinois

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