|This page has been designed to post photos of grade school buildings that are no longer used as schools. Some are in a delapidated state, some are now used as businesses, some are used for civic purposes.
ALL of these buildings, however, were once filled with the joyous shouts of children at play, of chalk gliding across the chalk board, and of gym shoes screaching on the floor. They, too, were once the center of the community they served and deserve to be remembered.
If you have such a photo and wish to share it on this page, please forward it to us via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Adeline Grade School
Adeline (population 85) is located in northwestern Illinois in the northwestern portion of Ogle County. Adeline is about 10 miles southeast of Freeport. The village is located at the intersection of Adeline Road and White Eagle Road. Illinois Route 72 passes by just one mile to the south and is connected to the village via Adeline Road. The Soo Line Railroad passes just south of town as well.
Adeline is a beautiful little town that includes summer church camp grounds, and a nice Lutheran Church. The “barbershop quartet” song “Sweet Adeline” refers to this small hamlet. The building pictured above, built in 1868, served as a grades 1 – 8 school for many years. The kids of Adeline attended Leaf River High School upon graduating from 8th grade. When Leaf River High School closed in 1986, all students were sent to nearby Forreston High School. It is believed that the Adeline School served as a school through the 1960s. It has been restored and is now used as a village hall.
From Roberta VanBriesen:
The Milwaukee RR came thru about 1/2 mile south of the village of Adeline. There was a depot, grain elevator, store and hotel at this location. It is about 1/4 mile east of the blacktop. The hotel building is still there, a home now, I can’t remember if the elevator is still there or torn down, I can remember when it was still in operation.
Albany Grade School
Albany (population 895) is located about 20 miles northeast of Moline along the mighty Mississippi River in Whiteside County on State Highway 84. Albany supported its own high school through 1944 when it merged with nearby Fulton High School. This school served as a grade school for the Fulton River Bend School District from 1952 – 2005 wshen it was closed.
Annawan Sacred Heart Catholic Grade School
Annawan (population 878) is located in the upper western portion of Illinois in the northeastern portion of Henry County. Annawan is located at the intersection of U.S. Route 6 and Illinois Route 78. Interstate Highway 80 passes through the northern edge of town. The village of Annawan was established in 1853 along what was then known as the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railroad. Annawan is said to be named after a Winnebago Indian Chief.(http://www.annawanillinois.org/History.htm)
The Sacred Heart Catholic School building pictured above was built in 1913. It was school for grades 1 – 8. For a short period between 1922 and 1923 the school building served as host to some classes for Annawan High School while the new high school brick building was being constructed. Sacred Heart Grade School served the community until 1966 when it was closed. The building still stands today and is utilized in a limited capacity by the Sacred Heart Catholic Parish.
Baileyville Grade School
Baileyville (population about 250) is an unincorporated village in far north central Illinois. It is located in far northwestern Ogle County about 5 miles south of the city of Freeport. This grade school was closed in the mid-1970s. The children of Baileyville attend schools in nearby Forreston.
Barstow Grade School
Barstow (population approximately 150) is located in northwestern Illinois in the far north central portion of Rock Island County. The county road known as Barstow Road (or 1st Avenue North) is the main roadway leading to and from Barstow. The county road listed as 193rd Street North also takes you to town. Interstate Highway 80 passes about 1/2 mile to the east of Barstow. The Burlington Northern Railroad line travels just to the north of Barstow. Barstow is about 6 miles west of downtown East Moline.
Barstow is an unincorporated village in Hampton Township. The town was originally established along the Chicago, Burlington, & Quincy Railroad line and was known as Franklin Crossing. The village was so named after Joel G. Franklin who donated the land. Shortly after the town was being settled, the name was changed to Barstow. This informatin was located ina book titled “Historic Rock Island County” which was written in 1906. At that time Barstow consisted of about 25 buildings, including a grade school.
We know that Barstow once had a grade school. There remains a school building in town though it is now privately owned. We know that Barstow supported a grade school for many years. The main school building that still stands in Barstow was built in 1914. It is our guess that at some point Barstow consolidated their efforts with Carbon Cliff to form the Carbon Cliff/Barstow School District #39. The kids of Barstow attend school at the Eagle Ridge School in Silvis today. We are not certain in what capacity this school building in Barstow is utilized today..
Beaverville Grade School
Beaverville (population 391) is located in upper-eastern Illinois, some might even say lower-northeastern Illinois. Beaverville sits in the northeastern portion of Iroquois County. Beaverville is located in a country setting at the intersection of County Roads 3000N and 2500E. Illinois Route 1 passes by about four miles to the west while U.S. Route 52 travels by Beaverville approximately four miles to the south. The Illinois/Indiana border is 8 miles east of Beaverville. The Kankakee, Beaverville, & Southern Railroad passes through Beaverville as well. Beaverville sits about 20 miles southeast of Kankakee.
A nice history of the town can be found at the web address of
http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/IL-Traces/1999-04/0925279827 . A brief summary of the history of Beaverville based on this article is as follows:
Beaverville first incurred the name of St. Mary’s. Upon the construction of the railroad through the area, it was discovered that the name of St. Mary’s was already in use. “Beaverville”, the name of a nearby post office, was then accorded the name of the town. The township of Beaverville was established in 1921. The town has had many successful businesses. There was never a high school in Beaverville as far as we know, just a grades 1 – 8 school. Could this be the former school building? Please let us know. The kids of Beaverville attend school in nearby Donavan today.
Bernodette Grade School
Bernadotte is located in western Illinois in the west-central portion of Fulton County. Bernadotte is located at the intersection of County Highways 2 and 14. Bernadotte is located about 5 miles north of Ipava. The Spoon River flows past the small hamlet of Bernadotte. The village was nearly named the state capitol of Illinois, losing out to Vandalia by one vote in 1820. Bernadotte was a nice-sized community of about 400 residents through the early 1940s. In 1943 the United States government moved to turn the area on which Bernadotte was located into a prison camp and training center known as Camp Ellis. This facility basically shut down civilian life in Bernadotte, and was closed just over one year later. The village never recovered and now has but a few residents.
The Bernadotte school building is pictured above. The school was likely closed in 1943 and was a grades 1 – 8 school. Today the kids of Bernadotte attend school as part of the Table Grove V.I.T. School District. For more on Bernadotte check out the following web addresses:
Campus Grade School
Campus (population 145) is a small village located in the northeastern Livingston County in the upper-western portion of Illinois. County Highway 1 and County Highway 3 intersect in Campus. The village is located about 6 miles (as the crow flies) southeast of Dwight. The school above served as a grade school through at least the 1960s. The school was eventually closed when it was decided that all students would attend school at the newly created Reddick RUCE School District. Campus put the “C” in “RUCE”. It is a beautiful little town with a majestic Catholic Church and rectory still standing. This building (above) is now utilized as a community center. The students of Campus today attend school in nearby Herscher.
Chana Grade School
Chana (population approximately 300) is an unincorporated town in the central portion of Ogle County in northern Illinois. Chana is located on County Highway 4 (Chana Road) about 2 miles south of Illinois Route 64. The village is located about 7 miles southeast of the Ogle County seat of Oregon and 8 miles northwest of Rochelle. The town was platted in 1871 by a man named William Chaney, whom the town was likely named after.
Chana has a very storied history including the great interest in education for their children. A school was erected in the village of Chana in 1883. This wood frame school served the students of grades 1 – 8 for Chana and the surrounding farm kids. An addition was made to the school in 1893 to accommodate the large enrollment. This gave the Chana school a very unique architecture for schools of that era. The Chana residents voted on the prospect of starting a high school in 1888 however the initiative was voted down and the kids who wished to pursue schooling after 8th grade attended high school in Oregon.
The Chana frame grade school building continued to serve the community until a more modern building was erected in 1953. This building served as the Chana Grade School building until it too was closed in the mid 1960s when all students were bused to Oregon for their education.
The original Chana wood-framed school building (viewed above) was salvaged and moved to the east side of Oregon where it was refurbished and is now used as a local museum memorializing the one-room school system.
The brick school building still standing in Chana, which was constructed in the early 1950s, may have been used at one time as a school by the Ogle County Educational Department. The building now looks abandoned but is well-kept.
To learn more about the Chana wood-framed school building please visit
Chicago Longfellow Grade School
Chicago is the 3rd largest city in the United States located in Cook County in the far northeast portion of Illinois on the beaches of Lake Michigan. Above is pictured the former Longfellow Grade School building which was an active school for several decades before being closed. The following information was provided by Ken Zintak:
“Longfellow elementary school that was on 35th street (between Wolcott and Wincester) on Chicago’s Southside. My brother Ron graduated from their in 1964. My brother Mark and I both attended there but moved before we reached 8th grade.”
Please contact us if you have any further information regarding Longfellow Grade School in Chicago.
Chillicothe Pearce Grade School
Chillicothe (population 5,996) is located in north central Illinois in Peoria County. Illinois Route 29 travels through the heart of Chillicothe, as does the Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railroad line. Chillicothe was established along the Illinois River which flows by the east side of town. Chillicothe was first settled in 1834 and is named after a Shawnee Indian Chief.
Pearce Grade School was established in Chillicothe in 1935. The grade school was closed in the 1980s. The school building has a happy ending as it has been converted to the Pearce Community Center and is still in use today in that capacity. http://www.pearcecc.com/about-us/history/
During its existence the Pearce Grade School athletic teams had some great successes, incoluding winning the 1972 IESA lightweight basketball championship. Here is a recap of that experience as remembered by a former player, Jeff Chamberlain:
“Thanks for including closed Grade Schools on your site. The town we moved to after grade school was a doormat for High school sports. BUT instead we had the ultimate “high school” type dream happen at my GRADE School. Pearce Grade School in Chillicothe IL WON the 1972 IESA Boys class “B” Lightweights State Basketball Championship at Neuman Gym in Normal Community High School. Pearce is now a Community Center. IESA.org has the path we took to win. Down by 8 at half and seeing Rantoul cheering and hugging in the other locker room through the coaches room glass windows we became motivated. Coach Tony Blew said..”YOU see that!” they think they won already!” He challenged us all to win. We roared back to lead and with the score tied 56-56 a last second shot by Alex Razo, assist by Mike Rushin gave us the Title 58-56 over Rantoul Eater. We never forgot it. Little Chillicothe IL beat Paris Mayo, Mt.Pulaski and a very tough Piasa Southwestern team to meet Rantoul for the Tit le. I remember it every time March Madness comes around. We even had the big STATE of IL cut-out with cities and lights up on the wall by the Clocks. That’s the last I saw of that Iconic relic of IL State Basketball. IESA was using it in the 1970s. When we won the fans rushed the floor, we all cheered and hugged and danced with the Cheerleaders, I waved to my Dad and brother up in the crowd. After the Trophy presentations we drove home to be loaded on town Fire Trucks with sirens blaring. We were driven around town chanting “We’re number ONE!!” even though it was after 9:30pm at night. Finally back to Pearce Elementary school at the Cafeteria for punch/cake surrounded by bus loads of students, teachers, parents.
Motivated by your website I went out on my own to find old Pictures, stories of our win. I put it all on the Flickr website. You can see the Album by searching “chillicothepearcemustangs” on Flickr. I’m adding to it all the time. I’ve been seeking real photos from that night as the whole envelope the school sold us was lost long ago by my parents after 2 or 3 moves. I STILL have the little golden basketball IESA awarded us and my School “C” State Champ letter from 1972. Thank you again for a great website. You’re right. Every little school and every child mattered. :0)”
Clarence Grade School
Clarence (population approximately 100) is located in the east-central portion of Illinois in the southeastern portion of Ford County. Clarence is located on County Highway 6 about 1 mile north of Illinois Route 9. The largest town of note near Clarence is Paxton, about 5 miles to the west. The above photos were taken in the grain elevator weigh station building in town, the last surving business. The stone was saved from demolition when the school was razed several years ago. The Clarence Grade School District 74 served the community from the very early 1900s through the 1960s when the school was closed. The children of Clarence attend school in Paxton as part of the Paxton-Buckley-Loda School District.
Deer Grove Grade School
Deer Grove (population 45) is located in northwestern Illinois in the southeast corner of Whiteside County. Deer Grove is about 12 miles south of Rock Falls. Illinois Route 40 is the main roadway to and from Deer Grove. The Whiteside County roadways named Deer Road and Arrow Road also lead you to Deer Grove. As you pass through town there are what appear to be the remnants of a railroad track that once passed through town. A small bar and grill and a grain elevator with approximately 15 – 20 houses complete the town.
The school house pictured above sits on the east side of Route 40. It appears to be utilized today as a business of some sort. It once served as a grade school for the town of Deer Grove and the surrounding farm kids. The kids of Deer Grove today attend grade school in nearby Tampico and high school in Prophetstown.
Diamond Grade School
Diamond Grade School District #135 was located in a country setting in east-central Illinois in the center portion of Vermilion County. It sat on U.S. Highway 150 a few miles west of Danville Illinois. Diamond Grade School existed for several decades before closing in 2002. The school was named after the Black Diamond coal mine and included grades K – 8. District #135 also included at least two other smaller schools, Hillery and Vance Lane School, that housed students in grades 1-4.
Dale Miller (Class of 1959) provided the following additional information regarding Diamond Grade School:
“Diamond Grade School closed in 2002 with its students transferring to Oakwood Grade School in the Unit 76 School District. Located just west of Danville, Il. on US 150, Diamond was originally a K-8 district, then #135. The west half of the building was built in 1901,with four classrooms and the tower. The east half was built in 1928, adding four more classrooms. A gymnasium with a stage located on the north side was added in 1954. The school was known for having solid basketball teams. Diamond won back to back heavyweight county tournaments and won 46 consecutive games in 1957-1959.”
Dunfermline Grade School
Dunfermline (population 262) is located in upper-western Illinois in the west-central portion of Fulton County. Illinois Route 78 and County Road 100 take you to and from Dunfermline. The Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe Railroad passes through Dunfermline as well. The Little Sister Creek flows by the east side of town, while the Big Creek flows by the west side. Dunfermline is located 4 miles due south of Canton. Dunfermline was established in 1887 and is named after a town of the same name in Scotland.
Information is needed regarding the establishment of the Dunfermline school pictured above. It is likely the school was built around the 1920s and served the town as a grade school for many decades. It is not known if Dunfermline ever supported a high school, though there is currently no evidence available to support this. The photo above was taken in January of 2014. The sign above the entrance simply states “Dunfermline School Dist. No. 88.” Please contact us if you have any further information. The kids of Dunfermline today attend school in Canton.
Eldena Grade School
Eldena (population about 200) is located in northwestern Illinois in the north central portion of Lee County. Eldena sits about seven miles southeast of Dixon, Eldena is located on Red Brick Road at the intersection of County Road 31 also known as Eldena Road. A nice history of the town is found at the web address of http://www.leecountyhistory.com/lee_county/eldena.htm .
The area around Eldena was first settled in the 1830s. The town was established in the mid-1850s when the Illinois Central Railroad laid tracks through the area. The school pictured above served as a grade school at one time. It appeared, in 2011, to serve as a private residence. The kids of Eldena now attend school in nearby Amboy.
Eleroy Grade School
Eleroy (population 85) is located in far northwestern Illinois in the west-central portion of Stephenson County. U.S. Route 20 is the main roadway to and from Eleroy, The Illinois Central Gulf Railroad line passes through Eleroy. Eleroy is located about 6 miles northwest of Freeport. Eleroy was platted in 1852 and named after the son, named Leroy but known as Eleroy, of a local business man named Hiram Jones.
The photo above, taken by Roberta Van Briesen, is of the Eleroy Grade School building as it is used as a private residence in 2015. We know that Eleroy had a grade school in place in the early 1890s. Dennis Bergman tells us the Eleroy school pictured above was built in 1957-58 and ready for use beginning in 1958. A building of identical structure was erected in Waddams Grove. The Eleroy school building served as a K-5 school and children would then continue their education at a Junior High School in Lena. Mrs. Olsen and Mrs. Kortemeier were two of the teachers at the school. Unfortunately the building served as a school for a short period of time, closing in 1969 when a new inclusive school was built in Lena.
Emington Grade School
Emington (population 117) is located in east-central Illinois in the northeast portion of Livingston County. Emington is situated on County Road N 3000 E about 5 miles north of Illinois Route 116. County Road E 2400 N also leads you to Emington and will take you to Illinois Route 47 about 3 miles to the west.
We are in need of information regarding the history of the town of Emington and its former grade school. If you have additional information to share please contact us at email@example.com .
The photos of the former Emington Grade School building shown above were sent to us by Owen Pulver. Owen tells us the following about Emington.
“Emington is located in eastern Livingston County about 10 miles southeast of Dwight. The children of Emington go to Saunemin for grade school and Dwight for high school.”
Esmond Grade School
Esmond (population 291) is located in far northern Illinois in the western portion of Dekalb County. Esmond is situated about 10 miles northwest of the city of Dekalb. An excellent history of the town and its school can be found at the web address of http://gis.hpa.state.il.us/hargis/PDFs/201157.pdf on page 8. According to the information on this page Esmond began a school in the town in 1860. The above school was built in 1950 and closed in 1993. The kids of Esmond now attend grade school at Eswood Grade School in Lindenwood and high school in Rochelle.
Flagg Center Grade School
Flagg Center (population approximately 300) is located in north central Illinois in the southeastern portion of Ogle County. It is situated at the intersection of Flagg Road and Center Road. Flagg Center sits about one mile northwest of the outskirts of Rochelle. The Soo Line Railroad meets with the Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railroad near Flagg Center. The building above served as a school for many years until it was converted to a church, a capacity in which it continues to serve today. The kids of Flagg Center attend school in Rochelle today.
Harrison Grade School
Harrison (population 75?) is located in far north-central Illinois in the north-central portion of Winnebago County. Harrison is located about 20 miles northwest of Rockford. County Highway 75 (also known as Freeport Road) travels through Harrison, as does Harrison Road. Sugar Creek passes by the west side of town too. According to www.mapquest.com Harrison is about 3 blocks from north to south and two blocks from east to west.
The school building pictured above likely served as a grades 1 – 8 school, maybe even lower grades only. It now serves as a private residence. The kids of Harrison attend school in the nearby Rockton Hononegah School District.
Holcomb (population approximately 200) is located in northwestern Illinois in the west-central portion of Ogle County. The town is situated on East Holcomb Road about one mile west of Illinois Route 251. The Soo Line and Iowa, Chicago, & Eastern railroad lines both travel through Holcomb. Holcomb is about 10 miles north of Rochelle.
From Roberta VanBriesen:
“Holcomb never had a high school. The village kids go to Kings and Rochelle HS now. My dad spent his childhood there. It was a lively town in it’s day. The CB&Q crossed the CGW there. My dad played with kids whose dad was a conductor on the CGW and learned to call all the stops all the way to Chicago. There was a large hobo jungle where the tracks crossed. The town was blessed with a bank that survived the depression.”
Homewood Central Grade School
Homewood (population 19,323) is located in northeastern Illinois in southern Cook County. The following information about Homewood Central Grade School was provided by former student Lawrence Santeford.
“Central was an elementary school in Homewood, Illinois. I attended 1957-1958 in 6th grade. When I was in high school (1960-1964) they hired us boys to sweep floors nights in the elementary schools and work there during the summers. A real personal loss when these schools were destroyed..”
Homewood Standard Grade School
Homewood (population 19,323) is located in northeastern Illinois in southern Cook County. The following information about Homewood Central Grade School was provided by former student Lawrence Santeford.
“Homewood Standard School was located at 18126 Dixie Highway in downtown Homewood, Illinois. Construction of the school was completed the summer of 1904, the third school of the village. There were four large classrooms with center cloak closets, an office, attic and a basement. It opened September 1904 with 117 students in all eight grades. By circa 1917, it became too crowded and classes were also held at the old Zimmer home on Martin Avenue and Ridge Road. During the early 1920s, Central School was built to provide more classroom space. The Standard Grade School was demolished 1970 for the widening of Hickory Road. On the south part of the lot Independence Park was built as a Bicentennial tribute in 1976.”
Hooppole Grade School
Hooppole (population 200) is located in north central Illinois in the northeastern portion of Henry County. Hooppole folks supported their own high school through 1948 when they merged with Annawan High School. The building pictured above was likely constructed in the 1950s. It served as the Annawan School District’s 1st and 2nd grade building through 1979. It was then closed as a new all-inclusive school was built in Annawan. The building today serves as a local business. The kids of Hooppole continue to attend school in Annawan today.
Latham Park Grade School
Latham Park (population 200?) is located in far north-central Illinois in the northeastern portion of Winnebago County. Latham Park is a northern suburb of sorts to Rockford, and is located on County Highway 17 about one mile east of Illinois Route 2. The Soo Line Railroad runs by the east side of town. Latham Park is situated west of the Rock River, across from Machesny Park to the east.
The Latham Park School was utilized as a K – 8 school that fed into the Rockford School District. The school was closed and the students of Latham Park continue to attend Rockford schools eventually attending Rockford Auburn High School.
L’Erable Grade School
L’Erable (pronounced ‘luh RAB’, population approximately 100) is located in east central Illinois in the north-central portion of Iroquois County. L’Erable is located in a true country setting on County Road E 2700 North at the intersection of County Road 1500 East. The Iroquois River flows by about one mile to the east of town. The town is about 10 miles northwest of Watseka.
According to a book found on Google titled “The History of L’erable, Iroquois County Illinois” , L’Erable was settled by a French contingent in 1855. The name L’Erable in French means “the maples”, for a grove of Maple trees in the area.
The building pictured above sits to the east of the St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in L’Erable. It served as a convent at one time. Kenneth Brutlag tells us the following about the L’Erable school; “The school was located across the road (from the church) to the North. It was purchased by someone from the Chicago area who later sold it to my parents. I do not know the name of the school but it was torn down about 1964 and the lumber was used to build an addition to my parents home which is located East of where the school was located and a home now sits at the site where the school at one time sat.”
If you have any further information on this building and the town of L’Erable please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark Grade School
Mark (population 491) is located in north-central Illinois in the north-central portion of Putnam County. Mark is located about 1/2 mile west of Granville. Illinois Route 71 passes by the southside of town. County Road N 1100 St. also takes you to Mark.
Mark was established in 1905. It is named after a person named Mark Elliot, who was the son of the farmer who donated the land on which the village sits. The brick Mark Grade School was likely built in the early 1920s, though classes were probably held in a different building well before that time. The school served the community for many years. We believe it closed in the late 1960s, possibly after the 1967-68 school year. The Mark Grade School building has since been razed. To view a nice website regardng the town of Mark and its former grade school go this web address: http://www.vil.mark.il.us/index.html
Maytown Grade School
Maytown (population 25) is located in the north central area of Illinois in south central Lee County. The hamlet sits in a true country setting about 10 miles west-northwest from Mendota (or 20 miles southeast of Dixon). Maytown Road is the main roadway to and from the area, as the town is situated between Morgan Road and Van Orin Road. There appears to be a populated subdivision about a mile or two northeast of Maytown as well. The actual hamlet of Maytown consists of a small former school building (now a storage facitlity, pictured below), a building which was a school at one time, and a beautiful brick church. There are three to four houses on Maytown road near the location.
A book titled “Pictorial History of Lee County Schools” states that all schools in May Township were consolidated in the summer of 1949. The consolidated school was first held in the Maytown Parish Hall building which is still standing. This arrangement lasted until 1956 when the new attendance center pictured above was completed. The school pictured above was closed in 1977. The kids of the Maytown area attend school in Amboy today. For more information on Maytown Academy, click here. The school building above likely served as a grades 1 – 4 or so school at one time.
Middlegrove Grade School
Middlegrove (population approximately 100) is located in upper west central Illinois in the northeastern portion of Fulton County. Illinois Route 116 is the main roadway leading to and from Middlegrove and connects it to Farmington located just 5 miles to the east. A county roadway appropriately named Middlegrove Road also leads you to the small village. Middlegrove was a mining community from the late 1800s through the late 1900s. At one time it supported several businesses including a hotel.
The school building pictured above was photographed by Roberta VanBriesen and Owen Pulver. The building was likely a country school moved to this location. A sign above the door refers to it as the “Clair School 1894”. Today this building houses historical information regarding the town of Middlegrove. We are not certain when the Middlegrove Grade School was established or when it was closed. We do know that the kids of Middlegrove today attend school in Farmington.
Milmine Grade School
Milmine (population approximately 50) is located in east-central Illinois in Cerro Gordo Township in Piatt County. Milmine is about 15 miles northeast of Decatur. The Norfolk Southern Railroad line travels through Milmine. County Highway 22 is the main roadway that leads to and from Milmine. It connects to Illinois Highway 105 about one mile to the south. Our good friend Dennis Downey submitted these photos and added the following information:
“Attached are several pictures of the public school building in the very small town of Milmine, Illinois. This is just off of Ill. Route 105 between Bement and Cerro Gordo, Illinois.The builidng is now a weigh station for the grain company which is about the only business plus some houses in the town. My second semester French teacher at Millikin University was from Milmine. Very elderly at the time and had taught French and German to Americans in WWII.”
The kids of Milmine attend Bement Schools today.
Mt. Olive Evangelical Lutheran School
Mt. Olive (population 2,150) is located in the upper-southwestern portion of Illinois in the southeast corner of Macoupin County. Illinois Route 138 is the main roadway to and from Mt. Olive. Historic U.S. Route 66 and Interstate Highway 55 pass by the west side of town. The Norfolk Southern Railraod line passes through Mt. Olive as well.
The Evangelical Lutheran School building pictured above opened in 1894. It served as a grade school for 65 years until it was closed in 1969. The building has been in continuous use since that time, though not in the capicity of a school.
New Bedford Grade School
New Bedford (population 75) is located in northwestern Illinois in the far northwestern corner of Bureau County. The County Roads of 2500N and 250E will take you to and from New Bedford. Illinois Route 40 travels by the town about one mile to the east. The town is about four blocks from east to west and three blocks from north to south, New Bedford is about 15 miles northwest of the county seat of Princeton.
The area in which New Bedford is now situated was originally settled in 1836 by a man named Henry Thomas. In 1844 settlers in the area named the town Winnebago. However in 1855 the town’s name was changed to New Bedford to honor the residents’ home town in New York. (http://genealogytrails.com/ill/bureau/Villages/newbedford/index.html)
New Bedford was quite an exciting place to live in the early half of the 1900s. A family named Bollman built a basketball gymnasium and a first class baseball/softball facilty on the southwest side of town. An aerial view of this facility is available at the following link:
The facility was known as Bollman Field with the gymnasium known as Bollman Fieldhouse. The gymnasium instantly became one of the finer gymnasiums in the area. It played host to a semi-pro basketball team, the Manlius High School basketball team, as well as events such as pro wrestling. The baseball field often played host to the National Fast-Pitch Men’s Softball tournaments in the 1950s and 1960s. This facility, however is but a shell of its former self today.
The history of the New Bedford Grade School has been difficult to research via the internet. We believe the school was in existence from the 1860s through at least the late 1950s, possibly even into the 1970s. The school building photos above were taken by Owen Pulver in 2013. The building appears to be good structual condition. It opened as a school in 1934 and closed in the 1960s. It also appears to be used for storage today. A nice article about the school is available at the following web address:
A former student of the New Bedford Grade School, Marilyn Olds Gentz, sent the following information to us:
“The picture of the new Bedford school that you have posted I believe was built around 1934. I lived in New Bedford and was to start school in 1934 and the school house burnt down, so we went to school in the back room of the grocery store that first year. My second year was in the new school. I’m sorry I can’t remember the name of the grocery store.”
If you have any further information to add please contact us at email@example.com. An aerial photo of the school when it was in its prime is found at:
Normandy Grade School
Normandy (population approximately 50) is located in northwestern Illinois in the northwestern portion of Bureau County. Normandy sits on Illinois Route 92 about 2 miles east of Illinois Route 40. A railroad line passes through town as well. Normandy is about 4 miles west of Walnut, and about 17 miles south of Sterling.
The building above served as a grade school in Normandy until the late 1940s. It was then used as a community center for a time, a role it still plays today. An earlier photo of the building is available at the following web address:
The kids of Normandy attended high school in Walnut before that school district was absorbed into the Bureau Valley School District in Manlius in 1994.
Oak Park Bishop Quarter Military Academy
**From Kenneth Rozhon:
“Bishop Quarter Military Academy was located at 605 Lake St. Oak Park, IL. circa 1900 to 1967. I was a proud member of the class of 1957. The Oak Park Historical Society has literature on the school. All that’s left is a 1/2 block street named Bishop Quarter! One of our biggest rivals was La Grange St. Joseph Military Academy, also closed now. They’re gone and that kind of education doesn’t exist anymore.”
Ottawa St. Patrick’s Grade School
Ottawa (population 18,400) is located in north central Illinois along Interstate 80 between the Quad Cities and Chicago. The Fox and Illinois Rivers meet in the center of the city, and also can be reached by US 6, Illinois 23, and Illinois 71. The Chessie Railroad also has a line that runs thru Ottawa, which it acquired years ago after the Rock Island went bankrupt in 1980.
Ottawa St. Patrick Grade School served the Catholic students of Ottawa from 1913 until it was closed due to lack of enrollment and financial strife at the completion of the 2009-10 school year.
Papineau Grade School
Papineau (population 186) is located in upper-eastern Illinois in the northeastern portion of Iroquois County. Papineau is situated on County Highway 3 at the intersection of County Road 3150 North. There is a railroad line that passes through Papineau. The town was incorporated in 1874. Papineau kids today attend school in nearby St. Anne. The building above was utilized in a few different capacities before falling into its current poor state.
The web address of
http://genealogytrails.com/ill/iroquois/Papineau-Township.htm tells us the following about the Papineau School pictured above.
“The frame school was built in the early 1900’s followed by the brick school in 1920. The eight grades were usually divided between the two classrooms on the top floor. The lower level contained two rooms used for recreation in bad weather, the rest rooms, and the kitchen beginning in the 1950’s. Also during the 1950’s seventh and eighth grade students were transported to St. Anne Elementary School. The district became a part of the St. Anne district in January, 1972.”
Pierson Station Grade School
Pierson Station (population approximately 50) is located in southeastern Illinois in the southeast potion of Piatt County. U.S. Route 36 travels just south of town which is located about halfway between Atwood and Hammond, or approximately 18 miles east of Decatur. The town was first established in 1887 as Dry Ridge but soon had the name changed to Pierson Station after land owner A.D. Pierson.
At one time there was a grade school in town as is evidenced by the photo taken above by Dennis Downey. This building is now a private home.
From Dennis Downey:
“Attached is a picture of the public school in what was called Pierson Station, but now is referred to just as Pierson. It is just off of Route 36 between Atwood and Hammond, Illinois. The Atwood high school, and then, the Atwood-Hammond high school closed last year and now has completely been torn down. A lot and baseball diamond remain. The Pierson public school, as you can see, is a home. Very small town with some grain elevators. I believe the Baltimore and Ohio RR goes through town. There is a line there that comes from Decatur to Tuscola and a spur for the grain elevators.”
Pontiac-Esmen Consolidated Grade School DIstrict #431
**From Gary Black:
The school was situated in Esmen Township in Livingston County on route 23 north of Pontiac, Illinois. The building is used today as a small, family business. The building was built in the early “50’s as a result of the closing of the one room schools in Illinois signed into law in 1949. Other consolidated schools in Livingston County were: Owego, Rooks Creek, Sunbury, Pontiac-Esmen. It is believed Pontiac-Esmen Grade School closed in the summer of 1998.
Ridott Grade School
Ridott (population 159) is located in far north-central Illinois in Stephenson County. It sits about 5 miles east of Freeport on South Rock City Road about 1 mile north of U.S. Route 20. We do not know when the school closed or when it was built. We believe the kids of Ridott today attend Freeport schools. A nice history of the town of Ridott and the early formation of its schools district can be viewed at the web address of http://genealogytrails.com/ill/stephenson/cityridottvillage.html .
Shiloh Grade School – Near Catlin
From former student Mark Smith:
“This was my grade school from 1956 to the spring of 1960. Shiloh was a one room grammar school about 3 miles SW of Catlin, IL. By 1958 we had dropped below 15 kids ( the State minimum) . State funding ended the following year. The school board used up the treasury to keep the school open until the end of the 1959-60 school year. My sister and I transferred to Catlin Grade school that fall. I was apprehensive about going to the “big” city school, but I soon found out that I was one of the smartest kids in the 5th grade. Watching the older kids at the blackboard really paid off for me!
Eight years later, I was the valedictorian of my high school class.
Mrs Rose Sacre was our teacher at Shiloh- we had 13 students enrolled in the final year. The building was sold to Freeman Cord and he converted it to a home. It was still standing, until 2019, when it burned down (not occupied). At the end of that school year in 1960, each family was allowed to keep one item from the school. We chose the large brass hand bell that Mrs Sacre used to call us kids into the building for classes. In my mind’s eye , I can see her standing on the top step, ringing that bell, calling us back to classes, from our lunch and recess. I am still the keeper of that bell up to this day.”
Obituary for Mrs. Sacre:
Stillwell Grade School