The History of Gifford High School
Gifford (population 815) is located in upper east-central Illinois in the northeast corner of Champaign County. U.S. Route 136 is the main roadway to and from this town located about 5 miles due east of Rantoul, and about 15 miles northeast of Champaign. The town appears on the map as having an unusual distinction of being about 14 blocks from north to south and 4 blocks from east to west.
The web address of http://www.archive.org/stream/centennialbookgi00poto/centennialbookgi00poto_djvu.txt provides us with a nice history of the town of Gifford and provides some mention of the town’s former high school. The town of Gifford was platted in 1875 by the person it was named after, Benjamin Gifford. Mr. Gifford was a well known man from nearby Rantoul. He was also a Civil War veteran who had served under General Ulysses Grant. The town was originally conceived as part of the plan to build a railroad through the area was formulated.
Gifford High School existed from 1890 through 1940. The first graduation exercise was held on May 25,1893. A newspaper article in 1916 stated the school had applied to become a 3-year high school. However a newspaper article from 1933 described Gifford High School as a 2-year high school. Gifford High School did exist from at least 1890 through the end of the 1939-40 school year. Throughout its’ existence graduates of Gifford High School would normally attend Rantoul High School to obtain a 4-year high school degree.
The high school-aged children of Gifford today continue to attend Rantoul High School. Gifford still supports a grade school for children in grades K – 8.
Gifford High School Quick Facts
Year opened: 1890
Year closed: 1940
School team nickname: the “Eagles”
School team colors: Purple & White
School Fight Song: unavailable