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.