The History of Hammond High School
Hammond (population 518) is located in east-central Illinois about 17 miles east of Decatur. This places Hammond in south-central Piatt County. U.S. Route 36 is the main roadway to and from Hammond and runs by the south side of town. The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad runs through the north side of town. According to Map Quest (www.mapquest.com) the Hammond Mutual Ditch flows by the east side of town.
The village was established in 1873. Its original names included Shumway and Unity. It was decided eventually to name the village after the president of the newly erected Indianapolis-Decatur- Springfield Railroad line which passed through town. His name was Charles Hammond.
The history of Hammond school system is located in booklet titled “The Prairie Is Our Home.” The book is a history of Hammond from the years 1873- 1998. Copies of pages from the book were provided to us by Donna House. It is probable that a high school for Hammond students was established in the late 1800s. Hammond High School served the community for at least four decades. In the late 1940s the push to consolidate schools was felt by the folks of Hammond and nearby Atwood. The two towns agreed to consolidate their efforts in 1948 by creating the Atwood-Hammond School District. The high school for the newly created district is located in Atwood.
The Hammond school building is still standing. It was used as a Junior High (6-8) facility through the 1980s. It was decided that declining enrollment and the busing of students from the larger town of Atwood to Hammond became an economical issue with Atwood having two school buildings large enough to handle the student population. In 1980 the Atwood-Hammond High School entertained 200 students in grades 9 – 12. That number has declined and steadied at around 120 students for the past 20 years. The Hammond school was sold to a private citizen and turned into an apartment complex which did not pan out.. It now sits vacant, a reminder of the town’s storied past.
“THE YEAR 1948 WILL SEE STUDENTS CLIMBING THE STAIRS OF HAMMOND COMMUNITY HIGH SCHOOL FOR THE LAST TIME. STUDENTS EXPRESS DEEP REGRET IN LEAVING, AND WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER THE GOOD TIME HAD AT DEAR OLD H.C.H.S. TO ALL STUDENTS, PAST AND PRESENT, WE, THE SENIORS OF ’48, WISH TO DEDICATE THIS, THE LAST EDITION OF THE MEMORITER.”
We know that Hammond High School, like nearly every small town school on this site, was a very special place during its time. The above photo was underscored by the written caption in the school’s final yearbook of 1948. Special gratitude goes out to Doris M. Gregory (a former HHS student) for the photos and several items of information on this page.
Hammond High School Quick Facts
Year opened: late 1800s
Year closed: 1948
Consolidated to: Atwood-Hammond School District
Hammond HS nickname: the “Wildcats”
School colors: Blue & Yellow
School Fight Song: unavailable