Hennepin Township High School “Mallards”

Hennepin High School
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1923-1966 (now Hennepin Jr. High School)

The History of Hennepin Township High School

Hennepin (population 707) is located in northwest Putnam County in north-central Illinois. Illinois Routes 71 and 26 pass through town as does Interstate Highway 180. The mighty and historic Illinois River flows by Hennepin as does the Coffee Creek. The Conrail Railroad has tracks that are laid in Hennepin. For location sake, Hennepin is located about 10 miles southeast of Princeton.

Hennepin was incorporated as a town in 1817. Due to its location on the Illinois River, it soon began to grow quite rapidly. The town hit what may have been a high of 2,144 residents in 1875. Hennepin is the county seat of Putnam County. It boasts of having the oldest functional court house in Illinois. The Hennepin Putnam County Court House was built in 1839.

The Hennepin School system was established in the mid-1800’s. The high school in Hennepin was functional from the late-1800’s through the mid-1960’s. The building shown above was erected in 1923 and was open as Hennepin High School until the early 1960’s when the school districts of Putnam County decided to pool their resources into one large school district. This became a reality in 1966 with the creation of the Putnam County School District. The High School was located in nearby Granville.

There is good news regarding the high school building in Hennepin. It is still operating as a school, now known as Hennepin Junior High School within the Putnam County School District. However, the fate of the original Hennepin High School building (prior to 1923) is also not known. Please e-mail us and share this information if you have knowledge of it.

Henepin High School Quick Facts

Year opened:                      late 1800’s

Year new building opened: 1923

Year closed:                       1966

School nickname:                “Mallards”

School colors:                     Red & White

School Fight Song:             “Mallards Take Wing”

Sung to the tune of “Anchors Aweigh”

Words by John L. Washington, Class of 1941

(Information provided by Elaine Bolatto)

Mallards take wing again,

Mallards take wing.

We fight our battles fair,

We have always fought square.

We will try to win –FIGHT to the end.

And if we’re beat this time,

We still will play to win.

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Inscription above front door

Hennepin High School definitely competed in boys’ basketball (www.ihsa.org). It is probable that baseball and track were also offered. Some great rivalries were struck up over the years with its future schoolmates from Granville Hopkins HS and McNabb Swaney HS. Games were played at Deck Memorial Gymansium. If you have any further information on Hennepin High School’s former athletic program, please forward it to us.

Boys Basketball

The only mention of the Hennepin High School athletic program is of the District Champion of 1966, the schools last year of existence. There may have been many great Hennepin High School teams which did not win IHSA hardware.  We would be glad to add these below if we are made aware of them. Some of the IHSA Tournament scores for Hennepin HS are listed below as found on the website “Illinois Postseason Basketball Scores“.

1934 Streator District Tournament

1st Round – Serena 39, Hennepin 15

Serena lost in 2nd round.

1935 Streator District Tournament

1st Round – Earlville 47, Hennepin 13

Earlville lost in 2nd round.

1936 Mendota District Tournament

1st Round – Rollo 29, Hennepin 19

Rollo lost in semi-final round.

1937 Ottawa Regional Tournament

1st Round – LaSalle 70, Hennepin 5

LaSalle won District title.

Scores for Hennepin from 1939 – 1950 are unavailable.

1951 Varna District Tournament

1st Round – Long Point 59, Hennepin 21

Long Point won District title.

1952 Varna District Tournament

1st Round – Long Point 60, Hennepin 31

Long Point won District title.

1955-56     7 – 13                                                                Coach Richard “Dick” Pound

1956-57   11 – 11                                                                Coach Richard “Dick” Pound

1957-58   10 – 11                                                                Coach Richard “Dick” Pound

1959 Wenona District Tournament   Record  8 – 16           Coach Richard “Dick” Pound

1st Round – Hennepin 65, Tonica 53

2nd Round – LaRose 58, Hennepin 52

LaRose lost in title game.

1960 Toluca District Tournament

1st Round – Hennepin 59, LaRose 57

2nd Round – Toluca 84, Hennepin 62

Toluca won District title

1961 Scores not available.

1962 Lostant District Tournament

1str Round – Cornell 46, Hennepin 41

Cornell lost in semi-final..

1963 Lostant District Tournament

1st Round – Lostant 63, Hennepin 52

Lostant lost in semi-final.

Scores for 1964 – 1966 not available.

1965-66    22 – 3     District Champions         Coach Joe Massino


We are certain there were many other activities offered at Hennepin High School in addition to athletics. Choir, Band, FFA, FHA, plays, homecoming dances, and many other activities were likely a big part of the Hennepin High School curriculum.

Hennepin Township HS Class of 1933

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Submitted by Neil (Left click on photo for larger view)


**From Charles L. Turner (Class of 1939):

“Hennepin High School graduate Maurice Reynolds, shown with the other four graduates, is the sister of Marjorie Reynolds who told me that he attended the original school for two years (gades 1 & 2) and then moved into the HS building illustrated.  The original building was still standing in 1932 but has been razed and is now the Ernest Bassi park.  Ernie was with me in the boy scout troup my dad led.  I graduated in l939.”

Hennepin High School Class of 1944

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Submitted by Dona Morine Burwell

If You Have ANY Information…..

regarding the many successes of Hennepin High School please forward it to us. You can e-mail photos and information to us at ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net. Or write to us at:

Illinois HS Glory Days

6439 N. Neva Ave. 

Chicago,  IL  60631


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