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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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