The History of Gays High School
Gays (population 259) is located in lower-eastern Illinois about 12 miles west of Charleston. Illinois Route 16 is the main roadway through Gays and is parallelled by the Conrail Railroad. Gays is platted in the southeastern corner of Moultrie County. A branch of the Whitley Creek flows to the east and west of town. An interesting website to view one of Gays’ most noteable landmarks, the two-story outhouse, can be viewed at http://www.jldr.com/2storyohgaysillinois.html.
The history of the town of Gays and its former high school are in need of research. We can tell by the graduation program sent (see above) by Rick Wagers that the schools first high school graduation was on May 05, 1898. We know that Gays High School served the town through at least the 1940s. We are only speculating, but we further believe that Gays HS was caught in the consolidation efforts of the state of Illinois which took place in the late 1940s. It is thought that Gays High School was closed in that time frame. We do know that Gays High School was annexed into the Windsor School District.
Dennis Downey tells us the former Gays High School was partially torn down. The gymnasium and some of the classrooms were saved and are now used as part of a church facility. The photos on this page of this complex were taken in 2009.
Tony Spivey provided the following memories from his days attending Gays Grade School:
“My family lived just north of Gays until I was in the second grade, before moving to Windsor.
The Christian school that moved into the former grade school building has closed. I don’t know if the gym is still marked as it was, I’m sure it was resurfaced at some point. When I was in school there (1967-69), and again when we used that gym for “junior high games” (mid to late 70s), the gym was so small the top of the keys and the jump circle at center court overlapped! It wasn’t just that the lines touched, they overlapped a good 4-6 inches. My older brothers (much older) played for Gays after the consolidation, but when the elementary school was still operated very independently from Windsor. The team name was Eagles, colors were blue and white.
It was said that’s what the high school was, and they just kept that name after the school closed. Again, not real evidence, but it’s a logical story.
What I was told by some old-timers growing up was that Gays High School was a three-year school, with many leaving after two years. The high school building was a two story brick building,”
Gays is also home to one of the most unusual tourist attractions in the nation. A two-story outhouse built in 1872 has been preserved and is marked as a tourist attraction by the state of Illinois! Check out photos and a brief story at the following web address: http://jldr.com/2storyohgaysillinois.html
Gays High School Quick Facts
Year opened: 1896?
First Graduating Class: 1898
Year closed: 1940s?
Consolidated to: Windsor School District
Gays HS team nickname: “Eagles”
GHS team colors: Blue & White
School Fight Song: unavailable