The History of Ewing High School
Ewing (population 310) is located in far south central Illinois in the northeast portion of Franklin County. Ewing is situated about 6 miles northeast of Benton. County Highway 1 is the main roadway to and from Ewing and connects it to Illinois Route 37 just three miles to the west. Interstate Highway 57 lies just to the west of Route 37. Rend Lake is about four miles west of Ewing as well.
A nice history of the town of Ewing was found at the web address of http://www.lib.niu.edu/ipo/1995/ihy951223.html. In summary, this article states that Ewing was established in the mid-1800s and was a basic rural Illinois community. The early 1860s brought some prominent local men together who decided the area needed a high school. In 1867 Ewing High School was established. This was a pretty forward-thinking view at the time as most rural communities simply established a school for grades 1 – 8 and did not establish a high school until years later.
Soon after the establishment of the high school the local people discovered their high school was not legally recognized. These folks took things one step further, they decided to establish a college. Ewing College was established in this very rural setting and attracted many more people and businesses to the area.
The population of Ewing rose to about 1,000 residents in the early 1900s, with the college enrollment a steady 300 students. World War I and economic hardships caught up with Ewing College. The school was closed in 1927 leaving the townspeople with heavy hearts.
The caption of the three plaques that comemorate the former Ewing College have unique statements on each. The plaque under the bell states:
“BELL AND ORIGINAL SIDEWALD TO WILLARD HALL
EWING COLLEGE 1867 – 1925
RESTORED AND DEDICATED 2002
EWING VILLAGE BOARD
EWING NORTHERN SCHOOL
Willard Hall; Chapel, Music Hall, Home to Pythagorean and Logossian
Literary Societies Who Often Stole and Hid The Bell, Foundation Laid September 8, 1891, by Masons, Completed May 1893.”
There are two plaues on the Ewing College memorial wall. One states:
1867 – 1925
This memorial stands on the first Acre of land ever donated to the college for a campus. William A. King was the donor. The first two buildings were erected a few feet west of this spot. The campus was later greatly enlarged and had a total of five large buildings.”
This plaque goes onto list the presidents of Ewing College
The second plaque on the wall states:
” Ewing College
1867 – 1925
Ewing College began as a non-denominational, co-educational, Christian school, and was later offered to the stockholders to the Baptists who operated the school for almost a half century. The first college class was graduated in 1874 and the last in 1925. The college was officially closed in 1925.
Purpose of the School.
The founders of the college stated the purpose of the school in these words: The pupose of the school was to school our children the best we could.”
This plaque also lists the founders of the college.
There is no more current information available regarding Ewing High School. Our guess is that Ewing High School continued to serve the folks of Ewing for several more years. It is likely Ewing High closed her doors in the late 1940s.
We know that the kids of Ewing continue their education today in Benton. David Smith, a fan of the IHSGD site, provided this bit of information on Ewing Grade School:
“Ewing has a grade school which is located on the site of one of the more famous buildings at Ewing College. It serves 200+ kids from k-8 and is a feeder school for Benton HS.”
Adam Rosho further advises:
“The grade school is called Ewing-Northern District. The elementary school mascot is the Warriors. The enrollment for the Elem/Jr. High is 207. I believe the school consists of students from Ewing,Whittington, and the country area around Ewing.”
Ewing High School Quick Facts
Year opened: 1867
Year closed: late 1940s?
Consolidated to: Benton School District
Ewing HS team nickname: possibly the “Warriors”
Ewing HS team colors: unavailable
School Fight Song: unavailable