The History of Emden High School
Emden (population 515) is located in south-central Illinois. Emden was platted in 1871 in northwestern Logan County, about 12 miles northwest of Lincoln. The town was named after a town in Germany by its founders Teis Smid and William Smith. Emden is located just south of U.S. Route 136 and just west of Interstate Highway 155. The Illinois Central Gulf Railroad runs at a northwestern angle through town. The Prairie Creek surrounds the town on three sides. Emden is named after Emden, Germany, a town where many early settlers of the area originated from.
It is thought that Emden provided education for its children as far back as the late 1800s. One thing is for sure, Emden was one of the smallest high schools in the state! Along with the likes of Rollo High School, which is also on this site, it was reported that in 1931 Emden High School had a total enrollment of 10 students.
Emden High School served the community for about 5 decades. It was in the mid-1940s that the town of Emden began consolidation talks with its neighbor to the southeast, Hartsburg. These talks became a reality after the 1946-47 school year. Hartsburg-Emden School District was established in 1947.
The following historical information was provided by an anonymous fan:
“The school pictured above is Emden Grade School — still in use! The Emden Community House was used for a 3 year High School for many years! During the school year the basketbal gym was used as the study hall and classroom. During the basketball season a heavy basketball goal was lowered from the stage to the side of the gym floor each Wednesdays and Fridays. This enabled movies to be projected on a screen that was set up on the gym stage. All thru the school year the classroom desks and chair had to be moved to the side on Wednesday and Friday afternoons. This work was done by the students!
Noted graduates include Darrell Klink a distinguished Lincoln Attorney, Thomas E. Komnick a highly successful business,and investmant man, and Dean B. Rademaker; founder of the 50 and DC Marathon Group USA!”
*From Harold Krusemark:
“The beginning photo of the Emden High School page was definitely the Emden elementary school. There were four large rooms with a play room and a furnace room in the basement. When I attended there in 1934,1935 and 1936, the lower level east room was for grades 1 and 2. Grades 3-5 were in the lower level west room. The 6th-8th were in the upper level East room. The upper level west room was not being used and contained a few larger size desks, maps and equipment. The students referred to this as the High School room.
In reference to attached picture, there is an article from the Bloomington Paragraph in February 1924, the school won the junior division Logan county Tournament. The plaque is the trophy they received (photo below). It still hangs over the fireplace in the greeting room of the Community House.
The Community House was completed in 1921 and served as the Emden High School building from 1922 through 1947. I am sending a photo of the community House that was on the dedication program (top of this page).”
The high school for the Hartsburg-Emden School District was located in Hartsburg. The grade school (pictured above) was located in Emden. It is quite possible that the building pictured above also served as Emden High School at one time. If you have this information please write to us.
Emden High School Quick Facts
Year opened: late 1800s
Total enrollment in 1931: 10
Year closed: 1947
School building today: Hartsburg-Emden Grade School
School nickname: “Eagles”
School colors: Red, Blue, & White
School Fight Song: unavailable