Ferris High School

Ferris High School Gymnasium 2012
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Photo by Roberta Van Briesen
Former Ferris Grade School – Now a Cafe
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Photo by Roberta Van Briesen (Left click on photo for larger view)

The History of Ferris High School

Ferris (population 168) is located in western Illinois in the center of Hancock County.  The village is situated about 3 miles northwest of Carthage.  Ferris is about a half mile west of Illinois Route 94 and is located on County Highway 29 at County Highway 1.  According to mapquest (www.mapquest.com) Ferris is six blocks from north to south and 4 blocks from east to west.  The Keokuk Junction railroad currently travels through town as the railroad in general played a vital role in the town’s development.

Ferris was established in the late 1860s. The town was platted as a stop along the Chicago, Burlington, & Quincy Railroad line. It is named after one of the men given credit for being one of its founders, Hiram G. Ferris.

The fact that a high school existed in Ferris was uncovered by a long-time fan of the Glory Days website, Roberta Van Breisen.  The following excerpt from a newspaper article was written regarding Fountain Green High School in 1923:

“Basket ball practice has begun on the out-door court.  Equipment including suits were received this week.  Several teams have written Fountain Green for games. The first game will probably be played with the Ferris high school.”

It is our guess that Ferris High School was a three-year high school, though a four year course may have been offered.  It is likely the high school was opened in the early 1920s.  It is probable that Ferris High School closed in the late 1940s, though possibly surviving through the early 1950s. We do know that the kids of Ferris today receive their education in nearby Carthage.

In the summer of 2012 our own Roberta Van Briesen mad a trip through Ferris and provided the photos on this page and the following information.

“The cafe is in the cafeteria of the former grade school.  Local farmers park their tractors by the door and go in for lunch. The gym on the back was built while the high school was still in operation.  The gym was saved when the original school burned in the mid-1960s.  Graduations had been held in the gym. Some of the residents I spoke with could remember the old days of sports with Fountain Green and Burnside.

A new grade school was built, and later closed.  It was converted into the cafe and several other uses. It is very well kept. Ferris is a clean little town. The district office for rural water is located there, and when I was there, the post office was still operating. The bank closed several years ago. There are several prosperous looking churches and the homes are pretty well kept.”


Tom Allen adds the following bit of history regarding the Ferris Grade School building:

“The Ferris Grade School building was last used for regular classes in the 1979-1980 school year (sixth grade, I was in that class).  Special education classes for students with severe mental and/or emotional handicaps were held in the building for a few more years.  I believe the building was also used for storage for a few years after that before being sold.  The cafe that was in operation at the time of your update in 2012 closed last year and the building sold at auction.”

If you have any further information regarding the history of Ferris and its former high school please contact us at ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net.

Ferris Downtown Bldg 2012
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Photo by Roberta Van Briesen (left click on photo for larger view)
Ferris Post Office 2012
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Photo by Roberta Van Briesen (left click on photo for larger view)
Ferris Bank Bldg Now Closed 2012
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Photo by Roberta Van Briesen (left click on photo for larger view)

Ferris High School Quick Facts

Year opened:                    early 1920s?

Year closed:                     late 1940s / early 1950s

Consolidated to:                Carthage High School

Ferris HS team nickname: unavailable

FHS team colors:              unavailable

School Fight Song:            unavailable

Ferris High School Gym 2012
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Photo by Roberta Van Briesen


We know that Ferris High School competed in boys basketball.  It is quite possible that baseball and track may have been part of the athletic program as well.  Currently we do not have any team records or coach’s names to share with you on this page.

Boys Basketball

The Ferris High School boys competed in basketball. The team also participated in the annual IHSA tournament. The web site titled “Illinois Post Season Basketball Scores” lists the following for Ferris High School.

1934 Macomb District Tournament

1st Round – Colchester 64, Ferris 9

Colchester placed 2nd in tournament.

1936 Carthage District Tournament

1st Round – Ferris 2, Fountain Green 0 (forfeit)

2nd Round – Warsaw 34, Ferris 26

Warsaw lost in semi-final round.

1942 Carthage Regional Tournament

1st Round – Carthage 34, Ferris 15

Carthage lost in semi-final round.

This was the extent of scores found regarding Ferris High School on this site.

Extra-Curricular Activities

We are also certain that, like many small schools, the folks of Ferris valued a good, well-rounded education for their children..We are curious as well if band, chorus, and several club activites were offered to the children who attended Ferris High.  If you have any of this information to share with us, please follow the directions below.


Our sincere gratitude goes out to Roberta Van Breisen, a long-time contributor to the Glory Days website, who discovered this high school through extensive research on the internet. Thank you Roberta, nicely done!

We Need Your Assistance…

…in researching the history and accomplishments attained by the Ferris residents and their former high school.  If you have any photos or any information you would like to see added to this page, please write to us at ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net. You can also send items to us via real mail at:

Illinois HS Glory Days

6439 N. Neva St.

Chicago, Il.  60631

Ferris School Mural 2013
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Submitted by Roberta Van Briesen
Ferris Grade School Bldg 2012
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Photo by Roberta Van Briesen (left click on photo for larger view)
Jeannie at the Feedlot Cafe, Ferris, Il.
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Photo by Roberta Van Briesen – Former GS Cafeteria (left click on photo for larger view)

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